Mechanical

Phil Kinnane | November 27, 2012

Many of the engineers and scientists that we collaborate with have been in the game for years. All of them are great experts in the applications that they want to model, and many of them are also proficient at computer science — it was not unusual that the first model or simulation of their application was a few lines of code they wrote themselves. Moreover, in a number of situations I’ve come across their application has been so specific that […]

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Fanny Littmarck | November 20, 2012

Reducing the amount of plastic used in the production of bottled water would both help companies save on packaging costs and be more sustainable. That seems easy enough, until you consider the fact that during storage and transportation, the bottles are stacked on top of one another. With a lot of bottles comes a lot of mechanical load. How can companies reduce the amount of plastic without compromising the structure of the bottles?

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Fanny Littmarck | November 12, 2012

December of 1903 marked the commencement of the Age of Powered Flight, and the Wright brothers went down in history. This was a time before personal computers and simulation software existed. Determining the optimal design of their airplane had to be done using physical prototypes and real-life experiments. What had the design looked like if the Wright brothers had been able to use computers and modeling software? Three researchers from Pennsylvania State University sought to find out how the design […]

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Fanny Littmarck | October 26, 2012

Out of all metals, the most frequently extruded is aluminum. Aluminum extrusion entails using a hydraulic ram to squeeze an aluminum bar through a die. This process will form the metal into a particular shape. Extruded aluminum is used in many manufacturing applications, such as building components for example. The process of shaping metal alloys, like aluminum, can be modeled using COMSOL Multiphysics.

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Phil Kinnane | October 8, 2012

The release of COMSOL Multiphysics version 4.3a introduces the Fatigue Module to the world of multiphysics modeling. As the diagram below shows, the Fatigue Module is used to perform structural fatigue life computations for both strain-based and stressed-based fatigue. Since the release, I’ve come to realize that this has been a sought-after product for COMSOL users. But why should you simulate fatigue?

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Fanny Littmarck | September 10, 2012

Who loves coffee? That’s what I thought; most of you. I for one cannot go a day without fueling up on coffee. Now that fall is on its way, the cooler weather will require better insulation of my coffee when I take it to-go, in the name of a travel mug (i.e., a thermos). This leads me to wonder: how long will coffee stay warm inside a thermos if I bring it outside?

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Fanny Littmarck | August 29, 2012

The end of August marks the end of summer here in New England. Already nostalgic and unwilling to let the season go, I decided to look into some “beach physics”. In May we released a new solar radiation feature in our Heat Transfer Module that will be helpful in many solar applications — including how to avoid overheating on the beach, apparently. Here’s how engineers can stay cool on the beach.

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Fanny Littmarck | August 21, 2012

When it gets dark, you flick on the lights. If you were to model this simple example, you would need to take all forms of heat transfer within consideration; convection, conduction, and radiation are all at play when a light bulb is flicked on.

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Cinzia Iacovelli | August 17, 2012

During a recent Heat Transfer Simulations webinar we demonstrated some good examples using “everyday life” type scenarios. Heat transfer occurs in many situations indeed: potatoes cooking in the microwave, hot coffee in a cup, and on the beach, with solar radiation. And most of us have at some point boiled water to make pasta for dinner. Heat transfer is at work then too.

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Valerio Marra | July 19, 2012

Remember those retro desk ornaments of the 1960’s, those lamps filled with colorful wax that began to move when the lamp was lit? I’m talking about lava lamps, or as I like to call them, “Rayleigh–Taylor instability machines”. They may not be popular among today’s youth, but I still own one and I thought it would be interesting to look beyond the dyed blobs of wax and observe the physics involved in lava lamps.

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Fanny Littmarck | July 4, 2012

The end of July marks the beginning of a $20 million R&D project led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to produce and process plutonium-238. The U.S. space program will be using the Pu-238 that is to be produced by ORNL as fuel for future deep-space missions.

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