A Closer Look at CAD in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6
Michael Alba posted on October 08, 2020 |
What’s new in the CAD Import and Design Modules in the latest version of COMSOL.
Model of a cascaded cavity filter for mmWave 5G, showing off the new partial transparency function in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)
Model of a cascaded cavity filter for mmWave 5G, showing off the new partial transparency function in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)

At its annual North American conference this week, simulation company COMSOL virtually announced the details of its upcoming release, COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. 

Set to release this fall, COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 offers several enhancements to existing modules as well as three brand new modules:

  • Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module to model hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers.
  • Polymer Flow Module to design and optimize processes involving non-Newtonian fluids.
  • Liquid & Gas Properties Module to compute fluid and fluid-mixture properties as functions of composition, pressure, and temperature.

COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 will also debut another new product, LiveLink for Simulink. This will allow users to connect their Multiphysics simulations to MathWorks’ Simulink through a COMSOL Multiphysics block.

CAD Enhancements

COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 adds several new features and improvements for geometry and design. The previous version, COMSOL Multiphysics 5.5, gave users the ability to create constrained and dimensioned 2D drawings directly in COMSOL’s Design Module. Now, COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 adds parameters to the mix so dimensions can be parametrized and referenced in other geometric operations or physics setups. 

To avoid over-constraining geometry, Multiphysics 5.6 has also added what it calls a measuring dimension. 

“A measuring dimension is just a dimension that's not constraining the sketch, but rather it allows you to reference that dimension value somewhere else,” explained Lorant Olasz, COMSOL’s technical product manager for CAD.

The Design Module has also been updated with a more advanced set of Boolean operations via the Parasolid kernel. These will provide more robust unions and assemblies of geometric objects, according to Olasz, who says users can expect better handling of overlaps and gaps when working to eliminate them through union operations.

Detecting a gap in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)
Detecting a gap in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)

The CAD Import Module (contained within the Design Module) has a new feature for interference detection, which will alert users to problem areas in their geometry and pre-empt wasted time on meshing and solving bad geometry. 

“When you import a CAD assembly of many components, a lot of times you end up having intersecting solids or gaps between solids,” Olasz said. “So, by adding a tool that will detect interference, you can detect touching objects, gaps, overlaps—it even detects if objects are contained within each other. This is something we think will make life easier if you work a lot with importing CAD assemblies.”

Another attempt to make life easier is the expansion of COMSOL’s check geometry feature used to detect any errors that may have occurred during file translation from CAD export to import. Previously available only when importing CAD geometry, COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 now allows users to run the check whenever they like—such as, after attempting to repair a translation error.

“If you detect during import that something is wrong, you could repair it afterward, and then you could use this tool to confirm that the geometry contains no faults after the repair,” Olasz said.

Olasz also revealed several geometry workflow enhancements. Users can now create clip planes (as well as clip boxes, cylinders, and spheres) as well as apply partial transparency for easier access to hidden geometry. A new right-click context menu allows users to access geometry and meshing tools directly from the viewport. 

Example of a clip plane in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)
Example of a clip plane in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6. (Image courtesy of COMSOL.)

Other Enhancements

In addition to the CAD Import and Design Modules, other modules have also been updated for COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6, which include the AC/DC Module with an augmented material library and new computational tools as well as the RF and Wave Optics Modules with new options for port sweeps. The Structural Mechanics and MEMS Modules now have new transient impact analysis functionality. There are multiple other updates, as well.

In addition, the new version boasts more efficient solvers that can decrease solution time by 30 percent or more, new layout templates for Application Builder, more realistic material rendering, and other improvements that you can find detailed on the COMSOL website.

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