This technology area is driven by the need (and increasingly the ability) to create holistic simulations which couple structural mechanics with fluid, thermal, acoustic, electrical and other descriptions of physical processes. Examples include aerodynamically induced noise and vibration effects in aircraft, metal casting processes, long term ground movements due to thermally and lithostatically induced pore water movements, piezo-electric phenomena, wave–structure interaction effects ranging from simple hydro-dynamic loading on ships to fully integrated kinematic and structural vessel response simulation to stochastically defined sea states.
In this category we also include issues to do with standards for the exchange of data and models between software, hardware and computer architecture advances, multi-processing, and the integration of simulation and CAE methods into the overall business process. In addition it covers improved (more robust) elements, meshless finite element analysis, front end modelling and post processing against the background of a continual demand for improved functionality and performance. New concepts such as stochastic and probabilistic methods also feature here as appropriate.
To represent the behaviour of complex engineering processes mentioned above sufficiently comprehensively, simulation capabilities characterised by the interactions amongst continuum phenomena at the macro-scale - multi-physics, and the impact of behaviour across a range of length and time scales simultaneously - multi-scale. Both are needed. The computational models of closely coupled multi-physics requires the employment of numerical solution procedures that have a measure of compatibility, so that the impact of one phenomena (e.g. electromagnetic fields) can be represented in another (e.g. fluid flow) in an appropriate time and space accurate manner. Moreover, when multi-scale calculations are involved, a variety of domain decomposition techniques are required, which again demands a measure of compatibility amongst the solvers for the phenomena at each of the scales. Even when the multi-level calculations are a realistic aspiration from the perspective of an analyst, then their integration into optimisation tools to facilitate the right first time design for manufacture or performance adds to the software engineering challenge of ensuring that software components for different aspects of the tasks are interoperable.
Multi-physics and multi-scale calculations are very computationally intensive - in an optimisation loop they are even more so. Therefore, the combined simulationoptimisation technology targeted as such applications will have to exploit high performance parallel computing systems. Significant efforts will occur over the next few years as the emerging accessibility of these technologies penetrate the manufacturing industry sectors and become more common design tools.
Summary of the Project Findings relating to MultiPhysics &
(as presented at the project review meeting in Malta, May 2005) (PDF Format)