COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 brings faster solvers, efficient CAD assembly handling and four new products

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6

The new COMSOL® version 5.6 features faster and more memory-lean solvers for multicore and cluster computations, more efficient CAD assembly handling and application layout templates. Four new products expand the capabilities of COMSOL Multiphysics for modelling fuel cells and electrolysers, polymer flow, control systems and high-accuracy fluid models.

Faster and More Memory-Efficient Solvers for a Wide Range of Applications

Solver performance has greatly improved in version 5.6, to the benefit of COMSOL® users working with large models that have millions of degrees of freedom. "In version 5.6, we have made general improvements to both the algebraic multigrid and the domain decomposition solver technologies. These improvements benefit most models using these solvers, giving performance improvements up to 30%. The improvements are even more pronounced when using clusters, giving improvements in the range of 20–50% for both CPU time and memory requirements. For CFD, we have improved the coupled velocity-pressure preconditioner and also added a brand new preconditioner that decouples the updates of these variables. With all of these improvements, the CPU time improvements can even exceed 50% for time-dependent CFD,” said Jacob Ystrom, technology manager of numerical analysis at COMSOL. Certain classes of viscoelastic structural analysis are now more than 10 times faster. A new boundary element method formulation enables analyses of acoustics models that are up to an order of magnitude larger than previous versions. This type of analysis is useful within automotive and sonar research and development.

Clip Planes, Improved Handling of CAD Assemblies and Application Templates

Clip planes enable easy selection of boundaries and domains inside of complex CAD models. Other graphics news includes visualisations that are partly opaque and partly transparent and the ability to make imported images part of a visualisation. Material rendering of, for example, metals can be mixed with field visualisations and have environment reflections that look more real. Handling of larger CAD assemblies has improved with more robust solid operations and easier detection of gaps and overlaps in assemblies. In the Application Builder, new application templates provide a quick and intuitive way to create organised user interfaces for simulation apps.

New Products for Fuel Cells & Electrolysers, Polymer Flow, Control Systems and Fluid Properties

Four new products expand what you can do with COMSOL Multiphysics, including modelling fuel cells and electrolysers, polymer flow, control systems and fluid properties.

The Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module provides engineers in hydrogen technology with new functionality for investigating the conversion and storage of electrical energy. "We see an important emergent market in the hydrogen economy, but also in understanding and optimising existing electrolyser processes. With this new product, we can provide users in the automotive, renewable energy, hydrogen technology and electrochemical process industries with state-of-the-art modelling and simulation tools," said Henrik Ekstrom, technology manager of electrochemistry products at COMSOL. In version 5.6, the Batteries & Fuel Cells Module has changed its name to the Battery Design Module while retaining all functionality. Users with a current subscription of the Batteries & Fuel Cells Module will receive the Battery Design Module as part of the upgrade to version 5.6.

The Polymer Flow Module can be used to design and optimise processes involving viscoelastic and general non-Newtonian fluids, which is beneficial in industries such as polymer, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, household and fine chemicals. In addition to the advanced rheology models, the module also features functionality for free surface tracking using two-phase flow.

The Liquid & Gas Properties Module can be used to compute properties for gas, liquids and mixtures, enabling more accurate simulations within acoustics, CFD and heat transfer.

Engineers can use the LiveLink™ for Simulink® product for control design and cosimulation of COMSOL Multiphysics models in Simulink diagrams. Simulink® is a product by The MathWorks, Inc.

Transient Contact, Wear and Crack Modelling

You can now simulate transient impact events in structural analyses using the mechanical contact functionality in the Structural Mechanics Module and MEMS Module. For users of the Structural Mechanics Module, contact analysis now includes functionality for analysing mechanical wear with dynamic removal of material. The Structural Mechanics Module includes tools for crack modelling, providing J-integral and stress intensity factor computations as well as crack propagation based on a phase field method. Lower-dimensional elements can now be placed inside solids. Uses include the modelling of reinforcements for anchors, rebars and wire meshes.

In the Composite Materials Module, the functionality for analysing poroelastic effects has been expanded to include composite shells. Applications include the simulation of layered soil, paperboard, fiber-reinforced plastic, laminated plates and sandwich panels.

The suite of nonlinear multiphysics material models in the MEMS Module now includes ferroelectric elasticity, which can be used for modelling nonlinear effects in piezoelectric materials such as hysteresis and polarisation saturation. This functionality is also available by combining the AC/DC Module with either the Structural Mechanics Module or the Acoustics Module.

Nonlinear Acoustics, Mechanical Ports and More Versatile Room Acoustics Analysis

The Acoustics Module can now be used to simulate high-intensity ultrasound as well as sound distortion in mobile device loudspeakers caused by nonlinear thermoviscous effects. New mechanical port conditions, available in the Structural Mechanics Module, Acoustics Module and MEMS Module, simplify the analysis of vibration paths and mechanical feedback in applications involving the propagation of ultrasonic elastic waves, such as ultrasonic sensing and nondestructive evaluation. Audio engineers will appreciate the Acoustics Module's new room acoustics metrics for improving the sound quality of rooms and concert halls, including reverberation time and clarity based on ray acoustics simulations.

Material Library for Corrosion and Automatic Reaction Balancing

The Corrosion Module now includes a material library with more than 270 instances of polarisation data. The Chemical Reaction Engineering Module features a new tool for automatic reaction balancing with stoichiometric coefficient computations as well as three predefined thermodynamic systems for dry air, moist air and water-steam mixtures, with a wide range of applications. There is also a new reactive pellet bed interface in the Chemical Reaction Engineering Module for multiscale modelling of fixed bed reactors by defining a microscale of very small pores inside the catalyst's particles and a macroscale of larger pores between the particles (bimodal pore structure).

Highlights in Version 5.6:

• Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module for accurate simulation of fuel cells and electrolysers
• Polymer Flow Module for analysing non-Newtonian fluids
• LiveLink™ for Simulink® for cosimulation of COMSOL Multiphysics® and Simulink®
• Liquid & Gas Properties Module for realistic fluid and fluid mixture properties
• Solution time decreased by 30% or more for many types of simulations
• Realistic material rendering of plastics, metals and organic materials
• More robust solid operations for imported CAD models and CAD assemblies
• Material models for laminated iron cores used in motors and transformers
• Coupled RF, thermal and stress analysis tutorial for 5G applications
• Mechanical contact: transient contact and wear modelling
• Crack modelling with J-integral and stress intensity factor computations and phase-field-based damage simulation
• Room acoustics metrics including reverberation time, definition and clarity using ray acoustics
• Sound distortion in mobile device loudspeakers due to nonlinear thermoviscous effects
• Faster and more memory-efficient CFD solving


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.

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COMSOL is a global provider of simulation software for product design and research to technical enterprises, research labs and universities. Its COMSOL Multiphysics® product is an integrated software environment for creating physics-based models and simulation apps. A particular strength is its ability to account for coupled or multiphysics phenomena. Add-on products expand the simulation platform for electromagnetics, structural, acoustics, fluid flow, heat transfer and chemical applications. Interfacing tools enable the integration of COMSOL Multiphysics® simulations with all major technical computing and CAD tools on the CAE market. Simulation experts rely on COMSOL Compiler™ and COMSOL Server™ to deploy applications to their design teams, manufacturing departments, test laboratories and customers throughout the world. Founded in 1986, COMSOL has 20 offices worldwide and extends its reach with a network of distributors.

COMSOL, COMSOL Multiphysics, COMSOL Compiler, COMSOL Server and LiveLink are either registered trademarks or trademarks of COMSOL AB. Simulink is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc. For other trademark ownership, see

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COMSOL is a global provider of simulation software for product design and research to technical enterprises, research labs and universities.