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Piezoelectric Energy Harvester Helps Increase a Car’s Efficiency

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 […]

Impedance Boundary Conditions Help in Modeling Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)

July 23, 2012

How do you simplify a 3D geometry to reduce the computational resources required to model it? Do it in 2D. What if the phenomenon can only be properly simulated in 3D? Find the planes of symmetry and reduce the size, most engineering objects are symmetric in some way. What if there is no symmetry, such as the propagation of random cracks through a steel pipe? Well, as this story from COMSOL News shows, there are other methods, such as using […]

A Closer Look at the Physics Involved in Lava Lamps

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.

Lowering Water Levels by not Taking Away the Water

July 17, 2012

Düsensauginfiltration (DSI) is a novel technique for lowering water levels at mining and construction sites while not actually having to transport the water away from these sites. This came to my attention at the latest COMSOL Conference in Stuttgart. There, Ph.D. student Yulan Jin and Assistant Professor Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher from the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany was presenting their research into this groundwater lowering technique.

Investigating the Fundamentals of an “Old” Technology

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.

Singing Sand Leads to Many Questions

July 11, 2012

I know, I know… I should spend the weekend relaxing. But every place I visit offers me a variety of natural phenomena I wasn’t aware of and, as an engineer and a multiphysics enthusiast, I can’t help but sit in the sun jotting down a list of the physics involved – possible coupling mechanisms, boundary conditions, materials, and so on (we talked about stereotypes attached to engineer on our Facebook page in May).

A Cooling Story for These Sweltering Days

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.

Space Fuel: Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Produce Plutonium-238

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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