Fueling Up for Autonomous Driving with Optimized Battery Designs

Brianne Costa June 14, 2018

After World War II, a boom in the economy caused Americans to buy a record number of cars (leading to serious levels of pollution). Today, we have more energy-efficient vehicles — such as hybrid and electric options — and another “boom” is occurring, this time for autonomous vehicles (AVs). Again, pollution is an issue, but in a different way: There’s a debate over whether self-driving cars should have hybrid engines to maximize profit or all-electric engines to minimize pollution.

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Brianne Costa May 24, 2018

Some inventions haven’t changed much since they first came about…even if centuries have passed. For instance, the pop-up toaster was invented in 1921, and although enhancements have been made, it still toasts bread. Paperclips hit the market about 150 years ago and they still hold sheets of paper together. The same is true of the lead-acid battery, a device that was invented in 1859 and operated under the same basic principles as the one currently in your car.

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Kiran Deshpande April 11, 2018

Stress corrosion is a type of degradation of a metal surface that is exposed to a corrosive environment and is subjected to mechanical stress, either residual or applied. This phenomenon can be difficult to predict and detect in underground pipelines, which could result in costly leaks and damage to the surrounding area. When modeling stress corrosion, a major challenge is coupling the mechanical and electrochemical interactions. Here, we look at how to overcome this challenge in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Brianne Costa March 21, 2018

Pablo Rolandi from Amgen delivered a keynote presentation at the COMSOL Conference 2017 Boston. The topic? How Amgen is moving beyond modeling and simulation for biopharma development. Rolandi shared five examples that illustrate this idea across both biologic and synthetic medicine applications. If you missed his presentation, you can watch a recording of the video and read the highlights of what he discussed here.

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Edmund Dickinson January 26, 2018

Previously on the blog, we discussed why surfaces are sites of special chemical interest and discussed the theories used to describe reactions at surfaces, including when those surfaces are described within homogenized models of porous media. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how chemicals behave when they become attached to a surface by adsorption. Adsorption plays an essential role in many catalytic and sensing processes, so let’s consider how it can be built into your chemical models.

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Caty Fairclough January 5, 2018

Steam reformers are commonly used for power and energy generation processes. To accurately analyze the performance of a steam reformer design, you need to be able to couple mass, energy, and flow equations. Using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, you can set up a model of a steam reformer that represents its real-world behavior and operating conditions.

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Ed Fontes December 26, 2017

You can easily describe composition- and temperature-dependent fluid properties using the thermodynamic properties database, available as of version 5.3a of the COMSOL Multiphysics® software. For reacting systems, the database computes enthalpy of formation and enthalpy of reaction. For fluid flow and heat and mass transfer, the database can compute viscosity, density, heat capacity, thermal conductivity, and diffusivity of liquids and gases. For systems with several phases, the thermodynamic properties database computes the composition of the phases at equilibrium.

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Caty Fairclough December 21, 2017

You’re standing in a lab full of beakers containing different colored liquids. While it may look like something out of a cartoon, this is a lab for researching vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs). Unlike conventional batteries, the chemical energy in VRFBs is contained in liquid electrolytes that are stored in external tanks and pumped through the cell to convert to or from electrical energy. By advancing VRFB designs, engineers can improve grid energy storage and the reliability of renewable energy.

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Rasmus Karlsson November 27, 2017

Wet chemical etching is used to form patterns on surfaces, with applications including the production of integrated circuits, MEMS devices, and pressure sensors. This process has been around for hundreds of years, and was a favorite method of Old Master Rembrandt van Rijn. The optimization of chemical etching was historically a matter of trial and error, but in this blog post, we’ll show how to model the process in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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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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Edmund Dickinson September 5, 2017

Precision machining and quality of surface finish are major concerns for manufacturers of metal parts. The promise of a contactless method to machine surfaces with submillimeter precision and a clean surface, on metals of almost any hardness, might seem too good to be true. However, such a method, pulsed electrochemical machining (PECM), was the focus of a detailed investigation using numerical modeling presented at the COMSOL Conference 2016 Munich.

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