Multiphysics Simulation

September 30th, 2014:

The development of numerical methods like FEM to study large complex physical models was a huge step forward in the ability to predict and tailor designs per the environment. Large scale application of these however was made possible entirely due to the advent of today’s computers. The formulation for performing such an analysis was in place; what was lacking was the computing power to solve it. Even a simple physical model is next to impossible to solve manually considering the possible number matrices and the size of the overall global stiffness matrix. The tremendous computing power of today unlocked the potential to utilize computationally tasking but accurate techniques to numerically predict a physical parameter.  With all the development happening in the individual field of analyzing individual characteristics, it was obvious that what was needed was a unification of these various methods  into one modeling study that could predict all of these as one.

  A physical phenomenon is usually accompanied by another. For example a current passing through a conductor simultaneously heats up the conductor due to joule heating.  This conductor could be replaced by some form of resistor that could in turn say boil water. So clearly we have electric and thermodynamic phenomenon along with mass transfer going on. Analyzing these inter-related events are done by a set of tools that apply a multiphysics based approach in solving these problems.

  The mulitphysics based approach is not only reserved for strict engineering use. The entertainment industries use them as well. Game developers use them to add reality in the movements of things in their games. Movie production houses use them to create virtual realistic objects.

  What the next phase of development would bring us is fascinating. Modeling has come a long way from simple one line equation to an all-encompassing capability to predict a model’s behavior.

- Mechanical Engineer Vipul Negi, Goddard Technologies