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Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Simulation Software Brings Big Changes to Cable Industry

M. Bechis
Prysmian, Italy

The design and testing of high-voltage cables for terrestrial and submarine applications is paramount to Prysmian's business model. A fundamental challenge in designing power transmission systems is optimizing the cables so that they can reliably deliver the required steady-state current while remaining at, or preferably below, the maximum permissible operating temperature. Incorporating multiphysics simulation into the R&D workflow at Prysmian has allowed engineers to design and test cables before constructing prototypes, while also considering unfavorable thermal environments that can be difficult to control in actual experiments. Multiphysics models with transient analysis allowed for evaluating thermal performance of parameterized cable geometries, while incorporating factors such as daily variations in solar irradiation and even current load changes instead of the usual constant current condition. The expanded simulation capabilities at Prysmian have led to improved procedures for cable design and better service to both customers and colleagues.

Cross-sectional view of the temperature distribution in a double-armored umbilical cable.