Mechanical

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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Fanny Littmarck | May 22, 2012

Knowing the sun’s radiation and thermal effects is very important to designers within the building industry, especially in designing “green” buildings. Heat transfer also plays a vital role in designing outdoor devices in terms of maintaining temperatures in extreme hot or cold environments. To use the words of Nicolas Huc, project leader for the Heat Transfer Module development at COMSOL in France: “it makes a huge difference if you forget to take the sun’s radiation within account”.

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Phil Kinnane | April 9, 2012

Wind turbines are an expensive investment and once they’re up, they’re up. An article from last year’s COMSOL News points to how modeling can also help in remedying problems, if it’s too late to have built the perfect design from the beginning. With wind turbines, noise is of course the problem.

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Phil Kinnane | April 4, 2012

I had previously blogged about Thermal Cloaking, which uses layers of aluminum and paper to create an anisotropic structure and cloak a desired object. This differs from the “traditional” type of cloaking, of light and electromagnetic waves, which make use of metamaterials or layered structures that impose a negative refractive index to make the cloaked object appear transparent.

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Phil Kinnane | March 30, 2012

A couple of days ago I blogged about the team at Lahey Clinic who are using COMSOL Multiphysics to model their neuromodulation therapy of patients. In their example, they place electrodes close to the spine and, through electric current, stimulate the area around these electrodes to relieve back pain. The reason why modeling is important for them is because it’s quite difficult to actually access these treatments to measure their effectiveness and possible detriments.

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Phil Kinnane | March 19, 2012

While you may think that the prevalence of lightning strikes, would be a reason for not wanting wind turbines in your backyard, noise is apparently another reason. While this has become less of a problem in recent years, the noise is still there, and is always there whenever the wind blows.

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Phil Kinnane | March 16, 2012

Following up on my previous blog post about protecting wind turbines from lightning strikes, I got to thinking about other modeling aspects of wind turbines. Structural mechanics is of course important, and we have a couple of models that center on this.

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