Mechanical

Valerio Marra | September 4, 2013

As a nuclear engineer, I’ve attended many thermal engineering classes. Whereas I’ve enjoyed learning techniques to enhance heat transfer, I’ve also found fascinating those applications where it is important to reduce heat transfer using the right choice and combination of materials and shapes. The design of this is vital for many industries, including the building and aerospace industries. Lately, I came across an interesting example of thermal insulation in the most mundane of these things: clothing design. I had to […]

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Alexandra Foley | September 3, 2013

It’s probably something we have all experienced. We get home, stick last night’s leftovers in the microwave, and sit down to have a nice meal — only to realize that the food is scalding hot one bite and freezing cold the next. This experience has prompted me on more than one occasion to wonder: Why does a microwave heat food so unevenly?

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Supratik Datta | August 26, 2013

If you have ever stood next to a transformer, you have probably heard a humming sound coming from it and wondered if there were bees close by. When you hear that sound the next time, you can rest assured that it’s not bees but the magnetostriction of the transformer core that is making that humming sound.

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Bethany Moatts | August 14, 2013

Multiphysics applications are all around us. Consider, for example, a setting where science may be the last thing on our minds: a music concert. You might be enjoying the slight sinusoidal variations in atmospheric pressure we call sound waves, or music, but those pressure variations must come from somewhere. In fact, they are due to a multiphysics effect where sinusoidal structural vibrations in an object disturb the surrounding air, causing pressure variations in the air that then propagate outward and […]

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Fanny Littmarck | August 12, 2013

It seems everyone and their kid brother has a cell phone these days — and we are constantly using them. We don’t just rely on them to make calls anymore, either; they serve as our maps, calendars, to-do lists, channel for social interaction, and so forth. This continuous use begs the question: “What about the radiation our phones emit, and how much of it is absorbed by our brains?” When considering this, scientists use the specific absorption rate (SAR) to […]

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Stephan Savarese | August 7, 2013

Technology and mechanics enthusiasts might agree that engines are very cool — and they also know how fussy they get when running into cooling problems. When it comes to aircraft propulsion, overheating is not an option. Most planes can’t fly safely without an engine, so why run the risk of overheating? While current engine designs limit that risk using clever cooling systems, another path to solve this problem would be to design more energy-efficient engines, exempt from excessive heat release. […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 1, 2013

When thinking about freeze-drying processes, I am reminded of astronaut food like the freeze-dried ice cream I tried as a kid. While this application of freeze-drying is important for preserving food being launched into space, there is also an incredible number of noteworthy applications that are used a little closer to home. Let’s take a look at the freeze-drying process, how it can be simulated, and some of the products and designs that rely on it to function.

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Alexandra Foley | July 29, 2013

A contact switch is used to regulate whether or not an electrical current is passing from a power source and into an electrical device. These switches are found in many types of equipment and they are used to control, for example, the power output from a wall socket into a device when it is plugged in; the currents passing across the circuit board of a computer; or the electricity powering a light bulb when the switch is flipped on. Because of their […]

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Mateusz Stec | July 22, 2013

Research on fatigue started in the 19th century, initiated following failing railroad axles that caused train accidents. In a rotating axle, stress varies from tension to compression and back to tension in one revolution. The load history is simple because it is uniaxial and proportional. Fatigue can then be evaluated with the S-N curve, also known as the Wöhler curve, which relates stress amplitude to a component’s life. In many applications we deal with multiaxiality and non-proportional loading. In this […]

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Laura Bowen | July 19, 2013

The way the sound is shaped as it passes through the pipe of an organ is the result of a carefully calculated and intricate pipe design. Browsing through the Model Gallery, I came across a model of an organ pipe, and it happens to be a great acoustics tutorial for using the Pipe Acoustics, Frequency Domain interface in COMSOL Multiphysics. Let’s talk organ pipe design, and walk through how we can model it with multiphysics software.

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Alexandra Foley | July 15, 2013

The Doppler effect, or Doppler shift, is the change in wavelength and frequency caused by the movement of an observer relative to the source. One of the most common ways we can experience the Doppler effect in action is in the change of pitch that occurs due to a moving sound source. You’ve probably experienced the Doppler effect when a fire truck or ambulance passes by with its sirens blaring. As the siren passes, the pitch suddenly drops as the […]

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