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EINDHOVEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTOOLABLE, NETHERLANDS

Multiphysics Analysis Helps
Preserve the Past

Students and consultants are collaborating to improve the built environment
and to save historic structures and artifacts with the use of simulation apps.

by GARY DAGASTINE

                                                              ~Mm  ~km  ~m ~mm

                                     FIGURE 1. From left to right, the images show different scales of structures of interest to the
                                     built environment, from large land areas down to the materials used in a window.

T here's always room for improvement in the                        expertise in advanced mathematics and computational tools,
                  things we humans create, and nowhere is          and the ability to perform complex numerical experiments to
                  this more true than in the so-called built       create innovative designs and optimize their performance.”
                  environment, the term for human-made physical
                  surroundings in which we live, work, and play.      As a consultant and professor, van Schijndel often needs to
   The built environment encompasses everything from large         think of ways to make complex ideas accessible to his clients
metropolitan areas to individual buildings, parks, roadways,       who are not simulation experts or to students who are still
and the infrastructure with which we interact over the course      learning about modeling and simulation work. As a
of our lives. Although it may not always seem dynamic, it is       COMSOL Multiphysics® software user, he takes advantage of its
continually impacted by a myriad of physics-based processes,       Application Builder, which enables him to build intuitive user
such as heat transfer, air ow, and moisture transport, which       interfaces powered by a COMSOL® software model. This allows
take place on many different scales (see Figure 1).                him, as a simulation expert, to ef ciently collaborate with
                                                                   clients and colleagues in other organizations and departments.

   The ability to model and          Using COMSOL apps             ð APPS FACILITATE THE USE OF
simulate these processes             first gives students          NUMERICAL SIMULATION
accurately can lead to signi cant    an entry point into
improvements in many important       numerical analysis            To his corporate clients, van Schijndel offers
areas such as energy ef ciency,      and physics systems           numerical analysis and testing capabilities through
health and safety, operating costs,  before they continue          these customized user interfaces, or applications,
durability, and notably,             on to building their          built from COMSOL models. These apps make
historic preservation.               own models from               it easy for an end user who has never used the
                                     scratch.                      simulation software before, or who doesn’t have
   Deeply immersed in this work                                    the technical background to create a model, to run
is Jos van Schijndel, founder of                                   virtual tests on different design changes based on
Netherlands-based consulting                                       their speci c needs.

  rm CompuToolAble and assistant                                       In the university setting, he uses the same
professor at Eindhoven University                                  software to introduce students to multiphysics
of Technology, Netherlands, where

he specializes in the mathematical                                 simulation and application design. Using COMSOL

modeling of building physics.                                      apps rst gives students an entry point into

“What gives me joy and energy is to work on projects that          numerical analysis and physics systems before they continue

not only incorporate leading-edge research, but which are          on to building their own models from scratch. Once they

relevant to society and can also inspire my students,” van         are familiar enough with the concepts and the modeling

Schijndel said. “I formed CompuToolAble to offer clients our       techniques, they can eventually create their own apps using

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