Postprocessing and Visualization Updates

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 brings interactive clipping, partial transparency, and material visualization in plots. Browse all of the postprocessing and visualization updates included in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 below.

Interactive Clipping

To make it easier to select edges, boundaries, and domains that are located inside a surrounding object, you can now use interactive clipping. Add planes, boxes, cylinders, and spheres to select which parts of a geometry are shown. The interactive clipping functionality works throughout the Model Builder and is available from a menu button in the Graphics toolbar. When you click the toolbar button, by default, a Clip Plane node is added to the View node, with settings that you can adjust in a Settings window or interactively in the Graphics window. Multiple clip planes may be added and used concurrently.

A gray induction motor model with the inside exposed at the top, by way of clipping.
Clip plane in a model of an induction motor. The gizmo, visible at the center, allows for interactive translation and rotation of the clip plane in order to visualize and select domains and boundaries inside of an object.

Partial Transparency

When working with 3D plots, you can now add transparency to individual plots instead of globally. By using different transparencies in each plot, you can choose which plots you want to highlight in the plot group. After adding the Transparency attribute to a plot, you can specify the amount of transparency (0–1).

A cavity filter model is visualized as partially transparent and the direction of the electromagnetic field inside is shown with arrows.
Partial transparency in a model of a cavity filter.

Material Appearance and Environmental Mapping in Plots

The visualization of materials is improved and support has been added for visualizing materials in plots. You are now able to create mixed visualizations where some plots show the results from a simulation while other plots show parts of the geometry using material appearance. It is also possible to mix material appearance with the plot color on a surface. The Material Appearance feature is an attribute, added to individual plots.

In addition, it is also possible to select Environment Reflections from the Graphics toolbar in order to create reflection of a predefined photorealistic environment around a device on the surface of that device. This gives a more realistic material appearance.

A closeup view of a bike fork model with a photorealistic material appearance; the metal shines and the surroundings are reflected.
Structural analysis plot on a mountain bike fork. The stresses on the painted black surfaces are not relevant to the analysis nor are the stresses on the chromium surfaces. The von Mises stresses are plotted only on the surface where they are large enough to matter.

Embedding Images

You are now able to display images on surfaces in 2D and 3D. Create mixed visualizations where you combine results from a simulation with maps, background images, and more. The images can be mapped on surfaces using arbitrary expressions or predefined planar, cylindrical, and spherical mappings.

A model of Earth with the inside exposed, showing blue seismic waves, and a satellite map embedded on the spherical model's surface.
Seismic waves through Earth's internal structure. The satellite image of Earth is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

A snapshot of the moment a golf ball is being hit by a golf club, where the ball is deformed on impact and the acceleration is shown in rainbow.
Impact model of a golf club hitting a ball. The ball is heavily deformed on impact. The COMSOL logo is mapped on the golf ball surface in the surface plot. The color on the golf club surface shows the surface acceleration 350 microseconds after impact.

Higher-Order Elements in Mesh Plots

Mesh plots can now be used for visualizing higher-order element nodes, for fields that are solved for, as well as node points corresponding to geometry shape functions.

The meshed model of twisted static mixer blades with yellow and blue streamlines.
Cubic elements and node points in the twisted blades in a laminar static mixer. The streamlines show the two streams that are mixed.

Graph Markers in 1D Plots

You can add graph markers to 1D Global and Point Graph plots that highlight both the global and local maxima and minima of a plot, and report the x-y values. You also have the option to plot the passband and stopband width in, for example, S-parameter plots. You can see this functionality demonstrated in the Detecting the Orientation of a Metallic Cylinder Embedded in a Dielectric Shell model.

A 1D plot with the max and min values of the radar cross section and polarization angles shown with two graph markers.
The minimum and maximum values of the radar cross section in dB-scale with the respective polarization angle highlighted in the cylinder_orientation model.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the graph marker settings shown for a model of a circular waveguide filter's passband.
Graph markers showing the passband of a circular waveguide filter, as well as the frequencies where reflections are minimal.

Partition Dataset

The Partition dataset is a generalization of the Filter dataset, available in previous software versions, and makes it possible to partition a domain with respect to a set of isosurfaces or contours. You can use the resulting surface mesh or volume mesh as the source for a mesh import and subsequent use in simulations. For example, you can use implicit algebraic expressions or computed field solutions to partition an object in multiple solid and fluid parts based on isolevel values. This enables multiphysics simulation on meshed geometries created using implicit modeling operations.

An orange model of a gyroid structure with partial transparency to show the inside.
A Partition dataset was used to create this gyroid structure with 3 domains. The gyroid channels are visualized using the new partial transparency feature.

Frequency Spectrum Plot for User-Defined Functions

You can now visualize the frequency spectrum of any user-defined function, including analytic, interpolation, and waveform functions.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the 1D Plot Group settings shown and a frequency spectrum plot shown in the Graphics window.
The frequency spectrum of a smooth sawtooth waveform function visualized using log-scale along the y-axis.

Embed Dataset

With the Embed dataset you can now embed 1D solution data into a 2D plot, and 2D solution data into a 3D plot. This is particularly useful for visualizing out-of-plane vector quantities using arrows.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the Surface plot settings shown and a structural plate model in the Graphics window.
The load on a 2D model of a structural plate visualized in 3D using the Embed dataset.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the Arrow Surface plot settings shown and a circularly polarized light model in the Graphics window.
A 2D model of circularly polarized light, visualized in 3D via the Embed dataset.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the Embed 2D plot settings shown and an axisymmetric coil model in the Graphics window
A 2D axisymmetric coil model, visualized in 3D, showing the azimuthal current flow and B-field.

Waveform Audio File Format (.wav) Export

Time-domain 1D plots can be exported to the waveform audio file format (.wav). Additionally, Impulse Response plots, available in the Acoustics Module, can be exported to this format. You can select to export as 8-bit or 16-bit, as well as change the sampling frequency.

A closeup view of the COMSOL Multiphysics Model Builder and settings for the Left Channel Acoustic Signal plot with the wav file type selected for the output audio.
The settings for the new functionality for exporting to the .wav file format. The example analyzes the noise generated by an electric motor during its operation at different speeds of rotation and includes higher harmonics. The sound is exported at two different locations corresponding to left and right audio channels.

Table Annotation Plot

Display multiple annotations based on a user-defined table with the new Table Annotation plot. Coordinates for positioning the annotations can either be numbers or expressions in terms of global parameters.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the Table Annotation plot settings shown and an acoustic pipe system model in the Graphics window.
A pipe acoustics simulation using the new Table Annotation plot.

Presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® in Reports

The report generator can now create PowerPoint® slides that document a model and that you can use in presentations. The reports branch in the model tree allows you to define the structure of the slideshow and select the features from other parts of the model tree that you want to include. You can also add your own branded PowerPoint® template.

The COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI showing the reports branch in the Model Builder with COMSOL Template highlighted, Presentation Template settings, and a micromixer model in the Graphics window.
The report generator allows you to control the structure, content, and template that you want to use in your slideshow.

Additional New Functionality

  • Coordinate vectors in annotations
    • You can now enter coordinate vectors or use a Cut Point dataset for positioning an annotation
  • Line segments in 1D plots
    • By using the new Line Segments feature, you can enter a sequence of x- and y-coordinates to add auxiliary line segments to a 1D plot
  • Error bars
    • A new Error Bars subfeature makes it possible to add error bars to 1D global and point graph plots
  • Column separators for export
    • You can now control the type of column separator that is used for files created with the Export > Data and Export > Plot features
    • Choose between Column, Space, Tab, Comma, Semicolon, Colon, Vertical bar (pipe)
  • Point Plot
    • You can visualize points as spheres, blocks, or ellipsoids at geometry vertices