Perfecting one’s golf swing is a great example of a complex and multi-faceted engineering problem to which multiphysics computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools may be applied. There is the structure of the golf club, its material properties, aerodynamics of the swing and subsequent ball travel, the force with which a particular person can render the impact, the club impact itself, the velocity of the ball, et cetera. Analysis and improvement takes a lot of thought and a significant amount of trial and error (as I’m sure every golfer will agree).
In the majority of cases, computer-aided engineering (CAE) commercial solutions were developed by engineers and researchers in academia, creating software for a specific niche area of physics like finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multibody dynamics (MBD), electromagnetics (EM), and many others. For years, these solutions and their associated pre- and post- processors continued to mature while generally maintaining development focus on the original area of study. In recent years, however, an increased number of interfaces between solutions have been established in order to provide a more holistic coverage for simulation involving multiple areas of physics.
Solutions developed for a particular area of physics generally maximize the simulation potential offered by that discipline. In such cases, modification of the code to broaden the range of physics can potentially add risk to the original solution capabilities and/or performance. This dilution of functionality is important to avoid. Instead, establishing robust interfaces between solvers has become more common so that each solution can retain its specialty while together providing a wider coverage of the needed physics. To achieve this, vendors have created Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as well as open input and result formats to enable communication between applications. Subsequently, these solutions have been applied to many examples throughout many different industries. In subsequent posts, we will elaborate on those examples and the exciting developments that have been enabled by the application of multiphysics to complex problems.