Triple Bottom Line: Innovating Bottled Water

Fanny Griesmer 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 Griesmer 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 Griesmer October 31, 2012

When you need to mix something at a very small scale you don’t reach for a teeny-tiny whisk. If you’re working with microscale biochemical applications you’d be more likely to rely on diffusion to mix fluids. With highly ordered laminar flow there is no turbulence involved, thus making diffusion a prime candidate for “getting the job done”. But what if you need to mix larger molecules? Larger molecules mean higher molecular weight, which in turn leads to very long equilibration […]

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Fanny Griesmer 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 18, 2012

As much as we would like to think that finite element analysis (FEA) is the be-all and end-all of simulations, it’s not true. There is also a camp of engineers out there that model integrated circuits and similar systems. These are based on different physics and equations than what FEA typically solves for. Yet, as is happening more and more in the world of virtual prototyping, the two types of simulations are converging. Now they need to integrate with each […]

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Phil Kinnane October 8, 2012

The Fatigue Module, an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, can be used to perform structural fatigue life computations for both strain-based and stressed-based fatigue. In this blog post, we discuss some of the potential application areas and benefits of fatigue testing.

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Guest Kyle Koppenhoefer September 26, 2012

Many of the products that engineers design experience cyclic stresses during use that are below the material’s yield stress; unfortunately, these stresses can still be the primary reason for failure. Thus, engineers and designers must find ways of including the effects of cyclic stresses when designing products for long-term use.

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Phil Kinnane September 5, 2012

In these days of globalization, keeping the world connected is imperative. Information needs to pass as freely and quickly as possible in order to keep markets up-to-date with the latest news and to ensure that commerce can be conducted without hindrance (at least of the technical kind). So what do you do – look to the sky? The answer is no; in fact, 99% of this information is carried by undersea cables. These unsung heroes sit at the bottom of […]

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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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Phil Kinnane July 26, 2012

Much has been written lately about increasing the energy efficiency of cars. Batteries and fuel cells are very hot topics, and not so long ago I blogged about the University of Michigan’s use of solar cells to fully power a car. Yet, even on the smallest of scales, such as the sensors in your car, improvements are being made. Utilizing a MEMS (Micro Electromechanical System) piezoelectric energy harvester, Alexander Frej and Ingo Kuehne at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich are […]

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