Postprocessing and Visualization Updates

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.5 brings moving points and arrows to streamline plots, a Filter dataset, and image export improvements. Browse all of the postprocessing and visualization updates included in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.5 below.

Spheres and Arrows That Move with the Field in Streamline Plots

Streamline plots have been improved with the addition of points and arrows that move with the velocity field. With these additions, you can create animations that give a feeling for how the velocity field behaves in different regions. The points act like massless particles moving within the flow and the arrows move along the path of the streamlines.

Spheres moving with the flow in the water purification reactor model.

Arrows moving along the streamlines in the water purification reactor model.

Filter Dataset

The new Filter dataset extracts the subset of a geometry where an expression falls within a given range. This is a generic tool that is useful in several situations. In plots, these can be used as an alternative to filter subnodes. In numerical evaluation, you can accurately compute the volume where an expression falls within a given range by integrating 1 over the Filter dataset. In topology optimization, you can create a mesh part from a Filter dataset, seen in the Bracket — Topology Optimization and Exporting and Importing a Topology Optimized Hook models.

The mesh of a hook designed using topology optimization.
A mesh part created from a filter dataset in a topology optimization model.

Image Export Improvements

In addition to exporting images of results plots, image export nodes now support exporting images from most kinds of nodes in the Model Builder tree, including geometry, mesh, functions, physics, and more. You can also set the view within the settings, making it easier to export multiple images of the same model at different points in the modeling process.

The COMSOL Multiphysics UI with the Image settings open to export an image of the geometry of the power inductor model shown in the Graphics window.
An Image node in the Power Inductor model, here set up to export an image of the geometry with material colors enabled.

Image Snapshot Improvements

When generating image snapshots, you can now save your settings as presets that are accessible from the Graphics toolbar, making it much easier to produce multiple images in quick succession. There is also a new COMSOL® ribbon tab in PowerPoint® for importing COMSOL® model images. Within the COMSOL® software, there is an output target that bundles the image generated for the clipboard with metadata, which enables the images to remain linked to the COMSOL® model file when inserted into a slide. Then, in PowerPoint®, you can update linked images, for example, to reflect changes in the solution or the plot.

A PowerPoint slide with an embedded COMSOL Multiphysics model and the COMSOL Image tab open in the presentation ribbon.
The COMSOL® Image tab in PowerPoint® allows you to change image snapshot settings and update the image in the presentation.

Selections in 2D and 3D Plot Groups

If you want to restrict a plot to a subset of the domains, then you can add a Selection subnode to the plot. This functionality has been available since previous versions. To make it easier to use coordinate selections in plots belonging to the same plot group, there is now support for specifying a selection for the entire plot group. With this new functionality, you can also now control selections for multiple dimensions by defining the selection for the highest dimension where it should be applied (domains and boundaries), and enabling propagation of the selection to lower dimensions (boundaries and edges).

Models that demonstrate this functionality:

  • ecore_transformer
  • parallel_wires
  • serpentine_flow_field
  • electrodialysis
  • dipole_antenna

Step Between Expressions Using Toolbar Buttons

Sometimes you want to look at the same plot for a set of expressions belonging to a group, for example, the species in a chemical engineering model. To make this easier, we have added two toolbar buttons to the Expression section toolbar in a plot's Settings window, which move between the previous and next expression in the same group.

A porous reactor modeled in COMSOL Multiphysics where the user is moving between expressions using the Expression toolbar buttons.
The Plot Next Expression and Plot Previous Expression buttons make it easy to switch between the different species (A, B, and C) in the Porous Reactor model.

Transposed Evaluation in Evaluation Groups

Evaluation groups were introduced in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.4 as a way to improve the usability and flexibility of the numerical evaluation tools in the COMSOL® software. The most important improvement of evaluation groups in version 5.5 is that we have added support for transposing the results of the evaluation. Some examples where this can be helpful are for visually comparing two or more values in a table, when you are evaluating many expressions, or when you evaluate expressions for many particles (using the Particle Tracing Module) or rays (using the Ray Optics Module or Acoustics Module).

Models that demonstrate this functionality:

  • failure_prediction_in_a_laminated_composite_shell
  • pinched_hemispherical_shell

Three windows from COMSOL Multiphysics showing the Model Builder, Settings window for an evaluation group, and the reaction forces in an example model.
The reaction forces in two bolts in the Bracket — Static model.

Gradient Between Two Colors in Plots

The new gradient coloring option lets you create your own color gradients for the results of your simulation. You have the option to select Gradient as the coloring and then simply select a top and bottom color, and the gradient will be applied.

Models that demonstrate this functionality:

  • compact_camera_module
  • magnetophoretic_separation
  • tilted_pad_bearing
  • twophase_flow_fsi

A tilted pad bearing is modeled in COMSOL Multiphysics and the pressure is visualized with gradient coloring.
A surface plot with a new coloring option, Gradient, in the tilted pad bearing model.

A truck-mounted crane is modeled in COMSOL Multiphysics and the displacement is visualized with gradient coloring.
A surface plot of the displacement of a truck-mounted crane visualized using the new coloring option Gradient.

PLY and 3MF Export of Plots

Export of plot data represented as surface meshes to the STL file format has been available in COMSOL Multiphysics® for a long time. Version 5.5 adds support for the PLY and 3MF file formats, which are similar to STL but additionally supports associated field or color data. This makes it possible, for example, to 3D print in color or to import colored surface mesh files into other 3D modeling software.

A bracket model created with COMSOL Multiphysics has been imported into Microsoft Paint 3D.
A topology-optimized part imported to Microsoft® Paint 3D as a 3MF file with the effective stress as surface color.

Advanced Settings for Max/Min Plots and Evaluations

When calculating the maximum and/or minimum values in plots and evaluations, you can now specify the point type to evaluate: Node points, Gauss points, and Lagrange points. This makes the evaluation of maximum and minimum values consistent with that of the Maximum and Minimum operators for Nonlocal Couplings. The functionality is available for Max/Min plots as well as for Maximum- and Minimum-derived values and evaluation groups.

General Transformation for Evaluation Groups

Since COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.4, you have been able to evaluate the sum and average for quantities evaluated by an Evaluation Group. Now, you can also evaluate general expressions, such as relative errors, by typing an expression using tags associated with each evaluation node in an Evaluation Group.

A cropped screenshot of an Evaluation Group in COMSOL Multiphysics showing data for temperature at two points.
An Evaluation Group with the temperature at two different points.