The Elephants of Materials Science: SMAs Never Forget Their Shape

Brianne Costa May 11, 2018

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are alloys with “memory”: They can return to their original shape after being deformed via a change in pressure or temperature. SMAs are used in a wide variety of applications — including metallurgy, manufacturing, biomedicine, and children’s arts and crafts — and their uses are always expanding…

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Ravi Ranjan April 18, 2018

When working with multibody systems, you may need to model a mechanism that transfers motion from one component to another. The mechanism used to implement this behavior, known as a cam-follower mechanism, plays an important role in many applications, including internal combustion engines, printing control mechanisms, textile weaving machines, and valves. You can easily model this type of mechanism with the Cam-Follower feature in the COMSOL® software. Let’s take a look at this feature in detail.

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Henrik Sönnerlind April 13, 2018

When a tuning fork is struck, and held against a tabletop, the peak frequency of the emitted sound doubles — a mysterious behavior that has left many people baffled. In this blog post, we explain the tuning fork mystery using simulation and provide some fun facts about tuning forks along the way.

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Caty Fairclough March 7, 2018

Additive manufacturing has a wide array of applications, such as creating custom medical devices, aerospace components, and artwork. With the list of potential uses continuing to grow, it’s important that this type of manufacturing can keep up with the demand. However, analyzing and optimizing this complex process can be difficult. What can engineers do to overcome this challenge?

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Thomas Forrister March 5, 2018

The foundation of a tunnel, dam, building, or other structure can be analyzed with a method called triaxial testing. Performing triaxial tests before, during, and after construction helps to ensure that structures are safe and reliable. To better understand the mechanics of soil and improve a structure’s stability, you can model the loading and unloading curves for a triaxial testing apparatus and test the soil’s model parameters in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Thomas Forrister February 20, 2018

When a car hits a pothole, the suspension system can take on major damage in a matter of seconds. Suspension systems must be able to adapt to myriad road conditions while supporting the wheels, seats, and body of the car. To study the performance of a vehicle suspension system, you can use multibody analyses and a simplified lumped model of a mechanical system.

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Bridget Paulus February 15, 2018

The interference fit between two parts has to be just right. Think of it as the Goldilocks quandary of structural mechanics: if the fit is too loose, the parts won’t hold together; if it’s too tight, the parts can’t join. For optimal performance of a structure involving joined parts, the interference fit needs to be calculated. One method is to create a simulation app, which can efficiently compute the contact pressure and surface displacement of two joined parts.

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Caty Fairclough February 13, 2018

To treat atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular disease in which a buildup of plaque causes an artery to narrow, doctors can insert a tiny wire mesh tube called a stent into the obstructed artery. Expanding the stent opens up the artery and helps restore blood flow. To successfully perform this operation and minimize potential health hazards, stent designs must be thoroughly studied and optimized. To do so, we can perform a nonlinear structural mechanics analysis with the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Caty Fairclough January 31, 2018

Due to their flexible fuel choice options, immovable parts, and potential for efficient power generation, thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems have a wide variety of possible applications. For instance, these systems could help provide portable energy, advance space travel, and power automobiles. However, engineers must first improve the efficiency of TPV systems as well as reduce system costs and device temperatures. To accomplish these goals, engineers can use simulation to analyze and optimize their TPV designs.

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Caty Fairclough January 29, 2018

Micromirrors have two key benefits: low power consumption and low manufacturing costs. For this reason, many industries use micromirrors for a wide range of MEMS applications. To save time and money when designing micromirrors, engineers can accurately account for thermal and viscous damping and analyze device performance via the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Henrik Sönnerlind January 22, 2018

All structural engineers use Saint-Venant’s principle, whether actively or subconsciously. You can find various formulations of this principle in most structural mechanics textbooks, but its exact meaning is not obvious. Saint-Venant’s principle tells us that the exact distribution of a load is not important far away from the loaded region, as long as the resultants of the load are correct. In this blog post, we will explore Saint-Venant’s principle, particularly in the context of finite element (FE) analysis.

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