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Message ID: 3322     Entry time: Thu Jul 29 17:11:16 2010
Author: Gopal 
Type: Update 
Category: COMSOL Tips 
Subject: Including Gravity in COMSOL 

[Gopal, Jan]

For the past couple of days, Jan and I have been discussing a major issue in COMSOL involving modeling both oscillatory and non-oscillatory forces simultaneously while using FDA. It turns out that he and I had run into the same problem at different times and with different projects. After discussing with an expert, Jan had decided in the past that this simple task was impossible via direct means.

The issue could still be resolved if there was a way for us to work on the Weak Form of the differential equations describing the system:

  • Usually, one must define weight as a body load in the negative-z direction. However, this problematically instantiates a new force in COMSOL, which is automatically driven over the range of frequencies during FDA.
  • Instead, we could define gravity as an anti-restoring force, since we assume that the base of the stack is fixed.
  • In other words, Fg = (ρ*g/L)*x + (ρ*g/L)*y for a point mass which is constrained on the bottom (for small angles).
  • Working in Weak Form then, we'd never have to define an explicit gravity load-- this could just be an extra couple of terms in the differential equation which are related entirely to the x- and y-vectors (well-defined for each mesh point). This would fool COMSOL into never tacking on the oscillatory term during FDA. 

According to current documentation however, Weak Form analysis is not yet possible in COMSOL 4.0. Jan suggested moving my work over to ANSYS or waiting for the 4.0 upgrade, but there's probably not enough time left in my SURF for either of these options. I suggested attempting a backwards-compatibility test to COMSOL 3.5; Jan and I will be exploring this option some time next week. 

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