COMSOL Multiphysics is a finite element analysis, solver and simulation software / FEA software package for various physics and electronic applications, especially coupled phenomena, or multiphysics. The packages are cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux). In addition to conventional physics-based user interfaces, COMSOL Multiphysics also allows for entering coupled systems of partial differential equations (PDEs).
Vineet Dravid, managing director, COMSOL Multiphysics Pvt Ltd spoke to Dilin Anand of EFY regarding the evolution of the simulation domain.
Q. Could you start off by giving us an idea about the various verticals that COMSOL Multiphysics provides solutions for? What is the biggest takeaway for an engineer using multiphysics simulation?
A. As the name suggests, it can be used for multiple purposes in various industries. Some examples would be the electronics industry, the automotive industry, the nuclear industry, manufacturing, and so on.
Whenever you are designing new products, you can, as is the norm, come up with different prototypes and test them and see if they are suitable for a real world application. But, this is often very expensive. COMSOL gives you the ability to simulate your product on the computer and see how it would behave in a real life situation by allowing you to model different physics and coupling them simultaneously to see what happens, how the product behaves.
Q. Since the same tool is being used in various industries, what changes would I have to implement, to utilise this tool for the electronics industry?
A. At the core of it, it’s the same tool. Having said that, we also have a lot of different models because we understand that when you are working on a product, you don’t want to spend a lot of time learning new software and making sure what you’ve built in your software is accurate vis-a-vis accuracy and validation. So, we have a lot of add-on modules where we do all the customisation for our customers and then they can use these models and very quickly come up with solutions, which they are looking for. Hence, at the core, it is the same thing but we have certain add-ons which are need-specific.
Q. What are the major industry challenges that this simulation software can help solve for chip-design firms?
A. Whenever you are developing an electronics device, one of the biggest concerns is cooling. You do not want the device to over heat. That is one area where we help a lot. With our product, you can see exactly how each component heats up and also what might happen when such over heating occurs including development of stress points resulting in eventual breakdown. It can also help in identifying accurate ways of cooling down the system. It can tell you if you need forced convection or if you need some novel methods to reach the same purpose like phase change materials.
It can also help a lot in the field of electromagnetics. Sometimes, when you have several components on your device, there might be resultant interference on your system. Or, you may even want to check the system components for compatibility. These issues can be tackled with the same tool. We work across the entire electromagnetic range; right from electrostatics to DC applications to HF applications like RF, optical modelling or tera-Hertz applications can be performed.
It can also be used by chip design engineers. We can model the spatial flow of current through a chip. We can also model induction effects, eddy-current effects and other spatial phenomena to find out how it can affect, both, the component and the device.
Q. What do you suggest is the optimum integration of simulation for the development process? Are there any drawbacks to be aware of?
A. Ideally, of course, right from the beginning. As soon as you come up with an idea, if you can start integrating your modelling tool into the design process, then it is obviously going to help you in the long run. Of course, we realise there are constraints. It is not easy to integrate the tool right from the beginning and there is a lot of legacy to think of too. But speaking from an ideal situation point of view, simulation should be integrated right from the start.