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MODELLING AND SIMULATION


FEA simulation drives new research


ROBERT ROE TAKES A LOOK AT ADVANCES AND TRENDS IN THE USE OF FEA SOFTWARE AND HOW IT IS BEING APPLIED IN REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS


As CAE software has matured and the capabilities have increased, individual disciplines are now


being combined to produce more accurate simulations. Alongside this there are also further efforts to democratise the software for use by designers and other members of an organisation. Bjorn Sjodin, VP of product management at Comsol, highlights some recent trends in the industry which are making Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and other simulation software tools increasingly important. ‘Multiphysics simulation is becoming more important over time,’ he said. ‘The technology is getting increasingly easier to access thanks to built-in functionality where previously analysts needed to spend a lot of time writing user-defined code, typically using FORTRAN.’ ‘By performing Multiphysics simulations,


companies can get a competitive edge by producing models that more closely match reality. Multiphysics simulations may require more computational resources than traditional simulations based on just one type of physics, for example, CFD, structural analysis, or electromagnetics. However, hardware and computational algorithms have developed to the point where this is no longer a hindrance.’


24 Scientific Computing World Spring 2020


AI and ML are also starting to make an impact, not only on FEA simulations, but simulation and CAE industry, just as they permeate almost any vertical market in enterprise and many different research disciplines. Sjodin stated: ‘AI and ML are starting to impact FEA and computer-aided engineering (CAE) in general. However, AI and ML methods face competition from traditional optimisation methods that aren’t standing still but are growing stronger. However, sometimes there is an overlap between traditional optimisation techniques on one hand ,and AI and ML on the other hand, so in the future the new and old technologies are likely to be indistinguishable.


Democratising simulation Comsol has been focusing on the development of smaller apps that aim to provide simulation capabilities in a controlled and easy-to-use environment for both experts and non-experts who wish to use simulation tools quickly. Using the Comsol Application Builder, an engineer creates the application, customises the interface and controls the inputs and outputs that the user of


”Sometimes there is an overlap between traditional optimisation techniques on one hand and AI and ML on the other hand, so in the future the new and old technologies are likely to be indistinguishable”


the app will be allowed to manipulate. The apps can then be shared across an organisation. By enabling more people to access simulation, product designs and processes can be improved. ‘The democratisation of simulations is a


big driver in the market. Simulation experts can now make sophisticated specialised models available to a wider group of users by means of simulation apps,’ commented Sjodin. ‘This is happening when software


vendors provide tools that let a simulation expert quickly create specialised and easy-to-use user interfaces that hide the underlying complexity of the computational models. About five years ago Comsol released the Application


@scwmagazine | www.scientific-computing.com


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