Comsol 4 revisited in version 4.1

In October I attended the Comsol Boston 2010 meeting and talked with people about Comsol version 4.1. Some of the papers there had used version 4.0, but most were still using version 3.5a since 4.0 hadn’t been out that long. Each participant was given a trial version of 4.1, so when I returned to Seattle I worked through all the problems in my book, Introduction to Chemical Engineering Computing, using version 4.1 and making notes of the steps I took to complete them. Those are the steps that are listed in the book for the older version 3.2. I’ve put those into Chapters 8-11 now so that they are updated to the current version. There is more work, though, since I want to expand the problem set and example set. I’ve decided to put one problem from each chapter on this blog page so that you can download it and run it in version 4.1 (after yours arrives, of course). You should be able to download the description from the book and an mph file for those problems: an initial value problem, boundary value problem, 2D Navier-Stokes problem, and 2D convective diffusion problem.

Here is the most important lesson I’ve learned so far:

When in doubt, right click.

The writeup under Comsol 4.1 hints describes the format of the interface. On the left is the Model Builder, with a list of nodes below it. You have to choose one and right click to take action. Once you right click, a list of possible actions is revealed, but you won’t see them until you right click. Under each node are also some sub-nodes that you can choose to set parameters, etc. More sub-nodes are added as you right click. Follow the example write-up and see if it works for you. The mph file is there for comparison if you get stuck. If you can’t figure it out, or get stuck somewhere, let me know and that information can be used to improve the book. (I’m not offering free consulting services though. Comsol support works well, too.)

There are still some transparency issues I’m dealing with. Comsol 4.1 is a major revision, and I’m still learning. My trial version runs out November 7th, and my license version hasn’t arrived, so I’ll have to stop for a bit. I’m off to the AIChE meeting. When I return I’ll be focusing on AspenPlus, process modeling and thermodynamics (see my earlier posts about revisions in those areas).

Bruce A. Finlayson

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About chemecomp

Bruce A. Finlayson, retired Rehnberg Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington
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