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New Book from One of the Greats in Chemical Engineering Education

August 22, 2012

COMSOL has had a great relationship with Emeritus Professor Bruce Finlayson of the University of Washington. I first saw him back in 2002 at an American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) meeting where he gave a presentation on the use of modeling in chemical engineering education. As a former President of AIChE and with a resumé covering some of the leading research and industrial advances within chemical engineering, I was quite intrigued by him taking the time and effort to […]

Modeling a Light Bulb, All Forms of Heat Transfer

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.

A Better File Format for 3D Printing to Replace STL?

August 8, 2012

I have previously blogged about 3D printing and how it would be great if you could go from model to product in one step. Now it seems as though the Stereolithography (STL) file format is reaching its limits for being useful as a standard for this type of application. The printers themselves, and what they are capable of, are outstripping the abilities of the file formats to support their new capabilities. Moves are being made to develop a better file […]

What Is Piezoelectricity?

July 30, 2012

All this talk about piezoelectricity got me thinking about how surrounded we are by everyday items whose performances rely on this physical process. Examples include inkjet printers, speakers, electric guitars, and ultrasound imaging systems. With so many different common objects utilizing this phenomenon, it may lead you to wonder: what is piezoelectricity?

3D Printing: Hottest Topic in Manufacturing

July 27, 2012

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it is more widely known as, is on everybody’s mind right now. Manufacturing folks, engineers, and even the general public have taken an interest in 3D printing. In other words, this is not just a fascinating phenomenon to those in the industry — additive manufacturing has been generally accepted as the next “cool” thing in manufacturing.

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.


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