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CUSTOM APPLICATIONS | BUILDING PHYSICS

FIGURE 2. At left, Amerongen Castle is one example of an historic structure that is subject to the potentially  FIGURE 3. App users can explore
damaging effects of heat- and moisture-driven stress and strain over time. This applies both to the building    a variety of designs and operating
itself, and to the treasures the castle contains, such as the cabinet door at right (source: Rijksmuseum        scenarios, e.g., different geometry
Amsterdam).                                                                                                     parameters and material properties.

the Application Builder, further expanding their knowledge       to more effective preservation efforts.
and the reach of their collective analysis capabilities.            Van Schijndel has created and overseen the creation of

   “Application Builder is very important to me in two distinct  many COMSOL models related to the preservation of historic
ways,” van Schijndel said. “At the university, it’s an ongoing   buildings and items in close collaboration with colleague Henk
challenge to motivate students to use their creativity and       Schellen, associate professor in Physics of Monuments. For
ingenuity before they dive too deeply into mathematical          example, one of their PhD students, Zara Huijbregts, used the
modeling. But now, I can easily build engaging simulation        Heat Transfer Module, an add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics,
apps with just the characteristics I want my students to         to model how sunlight streaming through windows would
explore. Then, only after they’ve had a chance to play with the  heat the oor and walls of a room at different times over the
apps to analyze the physics involved and to understand the       course of a day (see Figure 4).
effects when various changes are made, do we get into more
detailed work.                                                      The simulation combined
                                                                 conductive heat transfer
   “On the corporate side,” van Schijndel continued, “often      through the building envelope,
there are people who need to use numerical simulations           convective heat transfer and
so that they can see and understand the impacts of physics       measured indoor air, and
processes on their products, but don’t have enough               radiant heat transfer. The model
experience or interest in building models themselves. Using      included different surfaces of
the Application Builder I am able to create a specialized user
interface based on advanced numerical models and provide         FIGURE 4. A numerical simulation in COMSOL® software of temperature
them with only the parameters that they are interested in.       distribution in the oor and walls of a room at different times of day. The
This also ensures no errors are introduced, because we are       heat comes from solar radiation streaming through the windows as the
all working from the same reference point.” An app can be        sun passes over the room.
deployed for use by everyone who needs access to it, through
either a web browser or a downloadable client and letting
them connect to COMSOL Server™ product (as shown in a
cropped screenshot of the app in Figure 3).

ð MULTIPHYSICS ANALYSYS AIDS
HISTORIC PRESERVATION

When it comes to the preservation of historic buildings and
the artifacts they contain (see Figure 2), it’s imperative to
examine the combined impacts of heat transfer, air ow, and
moisture transport in order to blunt their deleterious effects.
Fluctuating levels of temperature and humidity can increase
the stress and strain on historic structures and objects, which
in turn may lead to warping, cracking, dimensional changes,
and other forms of damage. Having a better understanding of
the dynamics of these processes and how they occur can lead

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