COMSOL Desktop® Updates

For all COMSOL Multiphysics® software users, version 5.3a brings method calls to model methods where you can specify method inputs, functionality for transferring physics interfaces or entire components between MPH-files, and improved handling of recovery files. Learn more about these and other COMSOL Desktop® updates below.

Model Methods and Method Calls

Model methods, introduced with COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.3, enable you to perform complex operations directly on the model you are working with, such as setting up geometry sequences from data in a text file, changing solver settings based on specific criteria, or creating template plot groups. When creating and running methods, you may have certain inputs that you would like to specify before running your method. The new Method Call node, a subnode of the Global Definitions node, enables you to supply inputs to your model methods. You can even create multiple Method Call nodes using the same model method, in order to enter different default inputs for each node. The method inputs are displayed in the method call node's Settings window, automatically using the most appropriate form object type for the associated input type. Since model methods require the Application Builder, they can only be created or edited in the Windows® operating system, but method calls can be run and added for existing model methods on any platform.


A screenshot of the Developer ribbon tab in COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.3a.

The Developer ribbon tab with the new Method Calls functionality.

The Developer ribbon tab with the new Method Calls functionality.

In addition to method calls, there are a number of improvements to model methods. A new built-in selectNode method lets you select which nodes in the Model Builder tree that should be selected and visible in the Graphics window, for example, after running a model method. You can also control the progress bar using the setProgress, setProgressInterval, and resetProgress methods, previously only available for application methods. To assist with debugging, the Debug Log window can be displayed in the Model Builder desktop window in addition to the Application Builder.

Insert Component and Physics via Copy-Paste Functionality

The new Insert tools allow you to copy over entire components or physics from one model into another. The Insert Components from Model feature lets you import entire model components over to your current model. Similarly, the Insert Physics tool inserts physics interfaces from another model into an existing component in the open model. The space dimension of the component containing the original physics interfaces does not have to be the same as the space dimension of the target component. Both of these tools also provide copy-paste functionality between COMSOL Multiphysics® sessions, so components and physics can also be copied and pasted into another COMSOL Multiphysics® session.

A demonstration of the Insert Component tool in COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.3a.

The Component list now contains the Insert Component from Model tool, which opens the Insert Component dialog box where the user browses for a model and then selects the components from that model to insert into the current COMSOL Multiphysics® section.

The Component list now contains the Insert Component from Model tool, which opens the Insert Component dialog box where the user browses for a model and then selects the components from that model to insert into the current COMSOL Multiphysics® section.
A demonstration of the Insert Physics tool in COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.3a.

The Physics ribbon tab contains the Insert Physics from Model tool, which opens the Insert Physics dialog box where the user browses for a model and selects physics interfaces to insert into the selected component in the current COMSOL Multiphysics® section. The list of physics interfaces also contains the original space dimension before the label of the interface.

The Physics ribbon tab contains the Insert Physics from Model tool, which opens the Insert Physics dialog box where the user browses for a model and selects physics interfaces to insert into the selected component in the current COMSOL Multiphysics® section. The list of physics interfaces also contains the original space dimension before the label of the interface.

Generalized Moving Mesh Functionality

The Moving Mesh functionality is now available from the Moving Mesh submenu when right-clicking the Definitions node under a Component and from the Definitions toolbar.

The moving mesh features control the spatial frame in a model and may apply to all physics in a model where the domains are deforming or moving. They can be used to study both stationary states and time-dependent deformations where the geometry changes its shape due to the dynamics of the problem. For example, Deforming Domain features, added under the Moving Mesh node, can be used for fluid domain deformations in fluid-structure interaction (FSI) or electrostatic domain deformations in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Other features can specify that parts of the model rotate such as in the case of fluid mixers or electrical motors.

The moving mesh features available under Definitions are the new default mechanism for multiphysics interfaces with moving meshes. It is used instead of the Moving Mesh (ALE) physics interface, which is still available as an alternative to the new moving mesh functionality.

User-Defined Functions Available in Edit Fields

Any functions that you define under Global Definitions, in a geometry part, or under Results can be used when defining parameters, geometries, meshes, studies, and more. This functionality opens a wide range of possibilities for customizing a model, for example, to create complex geometries. You can define functions in a variety of ways: by an analytic expression, an interpolation table, an M-file in MATLAB®, or a material. These functions can then be called on from edit fields when defining the geometry, mesh, and study. In the edit field, pressing the Ctrl+space keys brings up a menu where you can choose a function or parameter to insert into the expression.

A demonstration of using the Move feature in COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.3a.

Two analytic functions are used to create an archimedean spiral of squares with the Move feature.

Two analytic functions are used to create an archimedean spiral of squares with the Move feature.

Variables for Matrix Operations

In a component, you can now define matrices and variables related to the matrix operations inverse, diagonalization, and singular value decomposition (SVD). The resulting matrices, as well as the input matrices, become available for use in equations and results in the form of scalar variables with a common base name and an indexing convention for the matrix elements. Square matrices of a size up to 9-by-9 are handled where each element can be a field variable such as a solution or solution gradient component, a coordinate expression, etc.

A cropped screenshot showing the expanded Variable Utilities option in COMSOL Multiphysics.

Utilities for creating variables related to the matrix operations inverse, diagonalization, and SVD.

Utilities for creating variables related to the matrix operations inverse, diagonalization, and SVD.

New Application for Cluster Setup Validation

The new Cluster Setup Validation application makes it easier to find the correct settings for cluster computing and remote computing by allowing the new settings to be directly tested within the application. When working settings have been found, you can export them for use with COMSOL Server™. By defining a cluster computing environment for COMSOL Server™ or COMSOL Multiphysics® preferences, individual applications need not contain hard-coded cluster settings. Note that the Open Documentation toolbar button opens a PDF that contains a detailed workflow on how to use the app. The Cluster Setup Validation app can also be used for cluster configurations with COMSOL Multiphysics®.

A COMSOL app for validating a cluster setup, new with COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.3a.

The Cluster Setup Validation app user interface.

The Cluster Setup Validation app user interface.

Improved Handling of Recovery Files

By default, the COMSOL Multiphysics® software stores recovery files while your model is solving. If, for whatever reason, the software terminates during this time, for instance due to a reboot of the computer due to a power outage, these files can be used to recover the partially solved model. New in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.3a, the recovery files feature is much more accessible and user friendly. The recovery files are now displayed in a separate window when launching the software, with an improved user interface that lets you immediately decide which files to save, delete, or open.

A screenshot of the COMSOL Multiphysics 5.3a GUI with the Recovery Files window shown.

The Recovery Files window appears automatically when a new recovery file is available to open.

The Recovery Files window appears automatically when a new recovery file is available to open.

Selection List Counter

The Selection List window now shows the number of entities that are currently selected. This can be useful, for example, when you are expecting a certain number and want to verify that you have applied the selection correctly.

A screenshot of COMSOL Multiphysics with the Selection List window expanded.

Selection List window showing the number of selected edges in the Multiple Oil Platforms model.

Selection List window showing the number of selected edges in the Multiple Oil Platforms model.