How to Model Solar Concentrators with the Ray Optics Module

Christopher Boucher | June 23, 2016

A paraboloidal solar dish can focus solar radiation onto a small target or cavity receiver. Because solar energy is collected over a large area, the incident heat flux at the receiver is extremely high. This thermal energy can then be converted to electrical energy or used to produce a chemical energy source, such as hydrogen. Today, we discuss strategies for computing the distribution of heat flux in the focal plane of a typical solar dish concentrator/receiver system.

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Christopher Boucher | June 20, 2016

With the release of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.2a, it is now possible to trace rays in unmeshed domains and even release and trace rays outside a geometry. The Ray Optics Module provides an entirely new algorithm that offers these capabilities and more, so that you can model your ray optics designs with ease and accuracy. Let’s investigate how this new algorithm affects your workflow when setting up a typical ray optics model.

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Christopher Boucher | May 6, 2015

Thin dielectric films are versatile tools for controlling the propagation of light. They can be used, for example, as anti-reflective coatings to reduce the amount of stray light in a system. They can also be used as low-loss reflectors or as filters to selectively transmit certain frequencies of radiation. Here, we’ll discuss some of the built-in tools that the Ray Optics Module provides for modeling optical systems with dielectric films.

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Christopher Boucher | November 26, 2014

With the release of COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.0, the Particle Tracing Module now includes a series of features called Accumulators, which can be used to couple the results of a particle tracing simulation to other physics interfaces. The accumulated variables may represent any physical quantity and can be defined either within domains or on boundaries, making them extremely flexible. Here, I will explain the different types of accumulators and their applications in particle tracing and ray optics models.

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Christopher Boucher | December 5, 2013

The trajectories of particles through fields can often be modeled using a one-way coupling between physics interfaces. In other words, we can first compute the fields, such as an electric field, magnetic field, or fluid velocity field, and then use these fields to exert forces on the particles using the Particle Tracing Module. If the number density of the particles is very large, however, the particles begin to noticeably perturb the fields around them, and a two-way coupling is needed […]

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Christopher Boucher | June 8, 2016

Static mixers are well-established tools in a wide variety of engineering disciplines due to their efficiency, low cost, ease of installation, and minimal maintenance requirements. When evaluating whether a mixer can be used for a certain purpose, it is important to determine whether the resulting mixture is sufficiently uniform. In this blog post, we will discuss the setup of an app designed to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the performance of a static mixer using the Particle Tracing Module.

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Christopher Boucher | December 25, 2014

Optical devices such as monochromators and spectrometers can be used to separate polychromatic, or multi-colored, light into separate colors. These devices have many applications in diverse areas that range from chemistry to astronomy. Using built-in tools in the Ray Optics Module, it is possible to model the separation of electromagnetic rays at different frequencies with a monochromator or spectrometer as well as analyze the resolution of such devices.

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Christopher Boucher | November 18, 2014

Almost all media absorb electromagnetic radiation to some extent. In high-powered laser focusing systems, a medium such as a glass lens may absorb enough energy from the laser to heat up significantly, resulting in thermal deformation and changing the material’s refractive index. These perturbations, in turn, can change the way the laser propagates. With the Ray Optics Module, it is possible to create a fully self-consistent model of laser propagation that includes thermal and structural effects.

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