Making Smart Materials Smarter with Multiphysics Simulation

J. Slaughter
ETREMA Products, IA, USA

Smart materials with magnetostrictive behavior are engineered and incorporated in high-precision devices by the designers and researchers at ETREMA Products, Inc. Terfenol-D, in particular, is a giant magnetostrictive material solely manufactured by ETREMA that exhibits the largest deformation of any alloy in response to an applied magnetic field and is integrated into the core of devices such as transducers. The decision to take a systems approach to design ultimately led ETREMA to use COMSOL Multiphysics for simulation, enabling the development of models with custom-defined materials and multiple components with interacting physics. Single-physics simulations were used initially for targeted evaluation of their transducer designs. Creating a coupled model of magnetostriction, however, enabled the investigation of deformation in their devices influenced by both mechanical stress and magnetic fields providing an accurate design tool that is useful in essentially every stage of product development.

Simulation results showing severe bending in an initial transducer design (left) and reduced deformation in the redesigned model (right).