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Heat Transfer & Phase Change Blog Posts

Solar Radiation: How Engineers Can Stay Cool on the Beach (Maybe)

August 29, 2012

The end of August marks the end of summer here in New England. Already nostalgic and unwilling to let the season go, I decided to look into some “beach physics”. In May we released a new solar radiation feature in our Heat Transfer Module that will be helpful in many solar applications — including how to avoid overheating on the beach, apparently. Here’s how engineers can stay cool on the beach.

Modeling a Light Bulb, All Forms of Heat Transfer

August 21, 2012

When it gets dark, you flick on the lights. If you were to model this simple example, you would need to take all forms of heat transfer within consideration; convection, conduction, and radiation are all at play when a light bulb is flicked on.

A Closer Look at the Physics Involved in Lava Lamps

July 19, 2012

Remember those retro desk ornaments of the 1960’s, those lamps filled with colorful wax that began to move when the lamp was lit? I’m talking about lava lamps, or as I like to call them, “Rayleigh–Taylor instability machines”. They may not be popular among today’s youth, but I still own one and I thought it would be interesting to look beyond the dyed blobs of wax and observe the physics involved in lava lamps.

Investigating the Fundamentals of an “Old” Technology

July 13, 2012

Transformers were first commercially used in the late 1800’s, but they are still being investigated at their fundamental levels. One of the stories from our latest COMSOL News concerns ABB (who themselves have been around since the late 1800’s) and their research into these apparatuses.

A Cooling Story for These Sweltering Days

July 6, 2012

I have just come back from a bit of a vacation and boy was it hot! Here, a large part of the US has been going through record high temperatures and most of my time was spent trying to keep cool. How nice then to mention a story about cooling.

Space Fuel: Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Produce Plutonium-238

July 4, 2012

The end of July marks the beginning of a $20 million R&D project led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to produce and process plutonium-238. The U.S. space program will be using the Pu-238 that is to be produced by ORNL as fuel for future deep-space missions.

Inventing Makes use of Simulation

June 28, 2012

One of the interesting stories to come out of the latest COMSOL News concerned a couple of great researchers, Dr. Ozgur Yildirim and Dr. Zihong Guo, and how they use simulations in their inventing process. They work in an invention/prototype laboratory in Bellevue, WA for Intellectual Ventures, a global leader in the business of invention.

A Cool Way to Consider the Environment

June 20, 2012

According to a study done by Brunel University in the United Kingdom, the food sector is among the top five energy-consuming industries. The transportation of food, including keeping it refrigerated, is one of the larger contributing factors to this energy-consumption and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions.


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