Solar Radiation: How Engineers Can Stay Cool on the Beach (Maybe)

Fanny Griesmer 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 Griesmer 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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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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Phil Kinnane July 13, 2012

Transformers were first commercially used in the late 1800’s, but they are still being investigated at their fundamental levels. One of the stories from our latest COMSOL News concerns ABB (who themselves have been around since the late 1800’s) and their research into these apparatuses.

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Phil Kinnane July 6, 2012

I have just come back from a bit of a vacation and boy was it hot! Here, a large part of the US has been going through record high temperatures and most of my time was spent trying to keep cool. How nice then to mention a story about cooling.

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Fanny Griesmer 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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Phil Kinnane June 28, 2012

One of the interesting stories to come out of the latest COMSOL News concerned a couple of great researchers, Dr. Ozgur Yildirim and Dr. Zihong Guo, and how they use simulations in their inventing process. They work in an invention/prototype laboratory in Bellevue, WA for Intellectual Ventures, a global leader in the business of invention.

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Phil Kinnane June 20, 2012

According to a study done by Brunel University in the United Kingdom, the food sector is among the top five energy-consuming industries. The transportation of food, including keeping it refrigerated, is one of the larger contributing factors to this energy-consumption and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions.

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Phil Kinnane June 6, 2012

The June issue of IEEE Spectrum included an insert focused on Multiphysics Simulation. This included a feature on cooling in hybrid cars, articles about metamaterials, the smart power grid, as well as biomedical applications.

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Phil Kinnane May 30, 2012

COMSOL News is now available in print and electronically, and you can request your copy of the multiphysics simulation magazine here. One of the great stories concerns a process engineer at Ruukki Metals in Finland, Mika Judin, who not only uses COMSOL to model and optimize his process, but lets the operators use the simulation too.

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Fanny Griesmer 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 into account.”

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