When Stars Align (and Collide): A Historic Gravitational Wave Discovery

Brianne Costa October 17, 2017

Imagine that reading books with no pictures and 12-point font is all you know. One day, someone hands you a pair of 3D glasses and takes you to see a movie. This is how thousands of researchers and scientists in astrophysics might feel right now — they have been closely working on the recent groundbreaking gravitational waves discovery that enables us to get a clearer, brighter view of the universe.

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Mats Danielsson October 11, 2017

The trebuchet is a large siege weapon that you might recognize from movies set in the Middle Ages or fantasy worlds. This weapon is built on the idea of converting potential energy into kinetic energy to hurl a projectile over a large distance. Simple as it seems, the trebuchet is a complicated dynamical system. In this blog post, we will build a simplified model of a counterweight trebuchet using the Multibody Dynamics Module and examine some of its design features.

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Edmund Dickinson October 10, 2017

In a previous blog post, we discussed why surfaces are special in chemical reactors. In this blog post, we’ll see how surface area is maximized in reactor structures such as pellet beds, and how we can simply and accurately simulate fixed-bed reactors in spite of their local geometric complexity and the importance of microscopic diffusion.

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Caty Fairclough October 6, 2017

George Westinghouse was a prolific inventor who helped shape how we use electricity in America and throughout the world. Among his notable achievements, he improved the safety of trains and furthered the acceptance and use of alternating current (AC) as a standard way to supply electricity. Throughout his life, Westinghouse started many companies and fostered strong ties to other great thinkers. As today is his birthday, we’d like to celebrate his life and accomplishments.

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Caty Fairclough October 4, 2017

Kelvin probes provide a nondestructive and contact-free method of measuring the work function differences of various material combinations. These probes can have a variety of designs, including different tip shapes, lengths, and radii. To find an optimal design while minimizing the need for extensive testing, one group of researchers used the COMSOL Multiphysics® software. Here’s what they found…

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Guest Linus Fagerberg October 3, 2017

Guest blogger Linus Fagerberg from Lightness by Design picks up where he left off in his previous blog post to discuss how radiated sound depends on the shell thickness of a muffler. Here, we discuss different entities for gauging the performance of mufflers. One important parameter is the thickness of the muffler’s casing and how this affects its performance. By performing acoustic-structure interaction simulations, we can see how shell thickness affects muffler performance.

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Caty Fairclough September 29, 2017

Fusion energy is 30 years away — and always will be. The joke certainly rings true for inertial fusion energy (IFE), which must overcome a number of obstacles before it can become a reality. For example, the current methods for creating IFE targets cannot meet the predicted demand and cost requirements. To solve this problem, researchers designed a new microfluidics method that could address these production bottleneck issues while complying with the strict geometrical requirements of IFE target design.

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Andrew Young September 27, 2017

When simulating flow in porous media, it can be efficient to simplify the geometric complexity of the real porous material using a homogenized macroscale approach. But what if we don’t know what the effective macroscopic properties are? Here, we look at how to extract the macroscopic flow properties of porosity and permeability from a fully resolved microscale submodel.

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Caty Fairclough September 21, 2017

Have you ever plugged one too many devices into an electrical circuit? This can overload the circuit and damage its components. To avoid this issue, many homes have devices like electric switch circuit breakers to interrupt the current when a critical current is reached. Other types of circuit breakers are used to prevent issues in high-voltage situations, like citywide power lines. In this blog post, we discuss using simulation to study a class of heavy-duty circuit breakers: magnetic power switches.

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Hanna Gothäll September 20, 2017

Irregular shapes can come in several different formats. For example, we have previously discussed importing STL files and NASTRAN® meshes into the COMSOL Multiphysics® software. These formats are common when working with scanned biological data. In this blog series, we will look at different ways of handling irregular shapes in COMSOL Multiphysics.

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Uttam Pal September 19, 2017

In 1870, an audience watched as a stage was set with two buckets, one on top of the other. Due to a small hole in the upper bucket, water poured into the lower bucket, bending as it did so. To the audience’s amazement, sunlight followed the bend of water — a phenomenon later termed total internal reflection. The performer on stage, John Tyndall, was one of the many scientists who tried to control the most visible form of energy: light.

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