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COMSOL Multiphysics® V 5.5 Introduces Powerful Geometry Modelling Tools, Faster Solvers and Two New Products

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In COMSOL® version 5.5, the Design Module provides an entirely new sketching tool for easier creation and more versatile parametric control of geometry models. New and updated solvers speed up a wide range of simulations. Two new add-on products, the Porous Media Flow Module and the Metal Processing Module, further expand the product suite's multiphysics modelling power.

Powerful Parametric Sketching with Dimensions

The Design Module provides a new sketching tool that makes it easy to assign dimensions and constraints to planar drawings for 2D models and 3D work planes. "We have carefully integrated the new dimensions and constraints tool in the Model Builder so that it becomes a natural part of the COMSOL Multiphysics workflow," said Daniel Bertilsson, technology manager for mathematics and computer science at COMSOL. "The new tools for dimensions and constraints can be used together with model parameters in COMSOL Multiphysics to drive the simulation, whether for a single run, parametric sweep or parametric optimisation."

Introducing the Metal Processing Module

The new Metal Processing Module makes metal phase transformation analysis accessible within the COMSOL Multiphysics environment for applications within welding, heat treatment and metal additive manufacturing. "The Metal Processing Module makes it possible to predict deformations, stresses and strains resulting from wanted or unwanted heat-driven phase changes in metals," said Mats Danielsson, technical product manager at COMSOL. "The module can be combined with any of the other COMSOL products for virtually any kind of multiphysics analysis that includes metal phase change. We envision users combining this with, for example, the Heat Transfer Module for the influence of heat radiation, the AC/DC Module for induction hardening and the Nonlinear Structural Materials Module for highly predictive analysis of material behaviour."

Introducing the Porous Media Flow Module

The Porous Media Flow Module gives users within, for example, food, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries a wide range of transport analysis capabilities for porous media. The new add-on product includes functionality for single- and multiphase flow in porous media, drying and transport in fractures. The flow models cover linear and nonlinear flow in saturated and variably saturated media with special options for slow and fast porous media flows. The multiphysics simulation capabilities are extensive, with functionality that includes options for calculating effective thermal properties for multicomponent systems; poroelasticity; and transport of chemical species in solid, liquid and gas phases.

Simplified Shape and Topology Optimisation with the Optimization Module

Users working with mechanical, acoustics, electromagnetics, heat, fluid and chemical analysis have been able to perform shape and topology optimisation in COMSOL Multiphysics for many years. The Optimization Module now offers simplified setup of shape optimisation with new built-in features such as moving boundaries parameterised by polynomials and built-in support for shell thickness optimisation. A new smoothing operation for topology optimisation ensures higher-quality geometry outputs that can be used for additional analysis and additive manufacturing. COMSOL Multiphysics now has general support for import and export of the additive manufacturing formats PLY and 3MF, in addition to the STL format that is already available.

Nonlinear Shell Analysis, Pipe Mechanics and Random Vibration Analysis

A wide range of nonlinear analysis options are now available for shells and composite shells, including plasticity, creep, viscoplasticity, viscoelasticity, hyperelasticity and mechanical contact. The mechanical contact modelling functionality has been extended to support any combination of solids and shells, including solid-shell, solid-composite shell and membrane-shell. Depending on the type of analysis, these improvements will be available to users of the Structural Mechanics Module, Nonlinear Structural Materials Module and Composite Materials Module.

For users of the Structural Mechanics Module, a new user interface for pipe mechanics provides functionality to perform stress analysis of pipe systems. The new functionality can handle a variety of pipe cross sections and can include effects from external loads, internal pressure, axial drag forces and temperature gradients through the pipe wall.

Users of the Structural Mechanics Module can now perform random vibration analysis to study the response to loads that are represented by their power spectral density (PSD). This allows users to include loads that are random in nature, such as turbulent wind gusts or road-induced vibrations on a vehicle. The loads can be fully correlated, uncorrelated or have a specific user-given correlation.

The Multibody Dynamics Module provides new functionality for analysing rigid and elastic chain drives with automatic generation of the large number of links and joints needed for modelling chain drives.    

Multiscale Wave and Ray Optics, Piezoelectric Shells and PCB Ports

The Ray Optics Module can now be combined with the RF Module or Wave Optics Module for simultaneous full-wave and ray tracing simulations. This enables multiscale modelling, such as analysing a waveguide beaming into a large room, where using a full-wave simulation would be computationally prohibitive. Combining the AC/DC Module and the Composite Materials Module, users can now analyse layered materials with both dielectric and piezoelectric layers in thin structures. In the RF Module, a set of new ports for vias and transmission lines makes setup much quicker and gives more control to the user for modelling of printed circuit boards.

Efficient Distribution of Standalone Applications

COMSOL Compiler™ enables you to create standalone applications based on COMSOL Multiphysics models with specialised user interfaces that have been built with the Application Builder. Compiled applications require only COMSOL Runtime™ — no COMSOL Multiphysics or COMSOL Server™ license is required. "Since the release of COMSOL Compiler last fall, we have seen great response from our Application Builder users with this new possibility of distributing their applications in standalone form," said Daniel Ericsson, application product manager at COMSOL. The latest version of COMSOL Compiler has a new compile option for generating minimum-sized files for easier distribution. When the user launches an application for the first time, where the new compile option has been used, COMSOL Runtime is downloaded and installed, if needed, from COMSOL's website. Only one instance of COMSOL Runtime is needed for applications using the same COMSOL version. COMSOL Runtime has a size of about 350 MB and an application file can be as small as a few MB.

Highlights in Version 5.5

  • New sketching tool with dimensions and constraints
  • Fast linear elastic wave simulations
  • New Metal Processing Module for welding, heat treatment and metal additive manufacturing
  • New Porous Media Flow Module for food, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries
  • Improved tools for shape and topology optimisation for mechanical, acoustics, electromagnetics, heat, fluid and chemical analysis
  • Import and export of the 3D printing and additive manufacturing formats PLY and 3MF
  • Structural analysis of nonlinear shells, pipe mechanics, random vibration and chain drives
  • More efficient open boundary condition for convective heat transfer
  • Use of thermodynamic database properties in any simulation type
  • Create your own add-ins for customising the Model Builder workflow
  • Minimal file size standalone applications with COMSOL Compiler™

COMSOL Multiphysics, COMSOL Server and COMSOL Compiler software products are supported on the following operating systems: Windows®, Linux® and macOS. The Application Builder tool is supported in the Windows® operating system.

To browse version 5.5 release highlights, visit:

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