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COULOMB*

3D Electric

V 8.0 Quick Start Guide

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

**Information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not
represent a commitment on the part of INTEGRATED ENGINEERING
SOFTWARE SALES Inc. The software described in this document is furnished
under a license agreement or nondisclosure agreement. The software may be
used or copied only in accordance with the terms of the agreement. It is against
the law to copy any part of the software onto cassette tape, disk or any other
medium for any purpose other than the licensees use.
This document contains proprietary information that is protected by copyright. All
rights are reserved.
Integrated Engineering Software Sales Inc.
220 -1821 Wellington Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3H 0G4
Telephone: (204) 632-5636
Facsimile: (204) 633-7780
E-mail: info@integratedsoft.com
Home Page: http://www.integratedsoft.com/

*Copyright ENGINIA RESEARCH Inc., 1989


June 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
OVERVIEW OF COULOMB
PURPOSE OF THIS MANUAL
LIMITATIONS OF THIS MANUAL
COMPONENT CHECK
THE COULOMB DESKTOP
Resizing the Message Area
The View, Standard View, and Visibility Tool Bars
The Utilities Tool Bar
Using 2D Geometry as the Basis for 3D Models
KEY CONCEPTS FOR WORKING WITH COMMANDS AND SELECTIONS
MANUAL CONVENTIONS AND SYMBOLS

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10
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13
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SAMPLE SESSION 1: PARALLEL PLATE CAPACITOR

19

MODEL DESCRIPTION
Symmetry and Periodicity in Models
Model Dimensions
BUILDING THE MODEL
Setting up the Desktop
Setting the Model Units
Setting the View Limits
Creating the Cross-Section Geometry
Creating the Disk Volume
Artificial Boundary Surfaces
Changing the View Characteristics
ASSIGNING PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
Overview of Physical Properties
Defining Symmetry and Periodicity Settings
Assigning the Voltage Boundary Conditions
GENERATING THE FIELD SOLUTION
Introduction to Element Meshes
Determining the Required Dimension of Elements
Selecting the Shape of Elements
Generating the Element Mesh
Solving the Model
ANALYZING THE FIELD RESULTS
Creating a Voltage Contour Plot
Creating a Graph of the E-Field
CONCLUSION

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SAMPLE SESSION 2: A SIMPLE PARAMETRIC EXAMPLE

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide


OVERVIEW OF PARAMETRICS
BASIC STAGES FOR PERFORMING PARAMETRIC ANALYSES
DEFINING PARAMETER LOOP STRUCTURE AND POSTPROCESSING OPTIONS
Switching to Parametric Setup Mode
Defining the Gap Parameter
Checking the Validity of the Parametric Definition
Defining Postprocessing to Complete the Parametric Definition
Parametric File Management
RUNNING THE PARAMETRIC
Parametric Result Database File
Starting the Parametric Run
ANALYSIS OF RESULTS
Creating a Graph of Force Measurements
Viewing the Animation of the Voltage Contour Plots
CONCLUSION
INDEX

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION
Overview of COULOMB
COULOMB is a CAE software
package designed to perform full
3D simulations of electric and
quasi-static physical systems.
COULOMB provides users with a
wide variety of analysis options,
including the ability to create
contour plots and graphs of field
quantities. Macroscopic
parameters such as forces,
torques and capacitances can
also be calculated.

To perform a simulation using COULOMB you must first


construct a geometric model of the physical system. This
can be done by using the built in geometric modeler
supplied, or alternatively, you can import files directly from
many of the most popular commercial CAD packages.
(For the most up-to-date information on which CAD
packages COULOMB directly links to, please contact
Integrated Engineering Software Sales.)

Once the geometric model has been built, physical


properties (such as boundary conditions, materials,
sources, etc.) are then assigned.
(In addition to a library of common dielectric and
conductive materials, COULOMB provides users with the
capability of entering their own custom material data.)

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

After the physical properties have been assigned, the


model is then discretized and the solution is calculated by
the field solver.
(The user has the option of either manually discretizing
the model, or having the Self-adaptive solver perform the
discretization.)

COULOMB can also be set to perform multiple unattended analyses by running


the program in parametric or batch mode.
COULOMB can perform phasor simulations to calculate steady state field
solutions that result from sinusoidal sources. However, COULOMB is not
designed to account for radiation or scattering effects. It is assumed that the
dimensions of all objects in a model are much smaller than the wavelength for
the frequency of simulation.

Purpose of this Manual


This Quick Start Guide is designed to teach you the basic essential skills that will
enable you to perform simulations using COULOMB. These skills will be
demonstrated by means of simple tutorial sample sessions.
We recommend that you read the rest of the sections in this Introduction, and work
through the sample sessions before attempting to model your own designs.

Limitations of this Manual


While the sample sessions have been carefully selected to be representative of
typical applications, we cannot cover the full scope of COULOMB capabilities in a
single short manual.
You will find more information about using the programs features in the online
Help. To access the Help, click the Help menu, then select COULOMB Help. In
the Help viewer, use the Contents, Index, and Search tabs to navigate to the
information you need.

Introduction

In addition, our technical support staff will be happy to answer questions you might
have regarding the proper application of COULOMB to your particular situation.
For those users who desire to attain a higher level of proficiency in using
COULOMB, Integrated Engineering Software Sales conducts several
customer-training workshops throughout the year.

Component Check
In addition to this Quick Start Guide, your COULOMB package should also
include:
A CD ROM containing the COULOMB program files.
A hardware security key (dongle) that must be attached to either the parallel
or USB port of your computer before you attempt to run the program. (Note
that the instruction card on the back of the CD ROM envelope describes how
to install the Sentinel Driver program for the security key.)
If you are missing any of these components, or if any have been damaged in
shipping, please contact Integrated Engineering Software Sales immediately.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

The COULOMB Desktop


The picture below shows several important features of the COULOMB program
window.

At the top of the window, the Title Bar shows the program name as well as the
current file and directory path.
The Menu Bar contains standard Windows pull-down menus.

Introduction

The Tool Bars contain speed buttons for the most often used commands. You
will become familiar with these as you work through the sample sessions.
Note that each tool bar has a raised double rib at the left hand edge of the bar.
These are Tool Bar Grips; positioning the mouse pointer on a grip and holding
down the Left mouse button allows you to drag the bar to a new location. The
tool bars may be floating; or docked at the edges of the program window.
As you work with COULOMB, you will repeatedly use the Utilities tool bar
(shown outlined in green), the View tool bar (shown outlined in red), and the
Standard View tool bar (shown outlined in blue). These will be described in
more detail in separate sections of this introduction.
The main area of the program window is the Workspace where the geometric
model is displayed.
Scroll Bars at the bottom and right edges of the Workspace can be used to pan
the viewing area.
The Orientation Indicator, displayed in the bottom left corner of the
Workspace, shows the view direction, and rotates as the orientation is changed.
The Command Bar (located below the Workspace and shown outlined in
yellow) is composed of two sections: the Message Area and the Command
Line. The blank border around the Command Bar functions in a similar manner
to the tool bar grips; holding down the Left mouse button with the cursor
positioned on the border allows you to undock the Command Bar and drag it to
a new location.
The Message Area displays messages from the program, as well as recording
information entered by the user. The information displayed in the Message Area
is especially important to new users. In the next section, you will be shown how
to resize the Message Area.
Instructions to the program are entered in the Command Line. When a
command is activated, the prompt in the Command Line will change to instruct
you on the steps required to complete the command.
The very bottom of the program window contains the Status Bar, which displays
information on the state of the program.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

10

Resizing the Message Area


The Message Area should always be sized to display at least three lines of text.
Depending on the resolution and settings of your computer monitor, you may
have to resize the Message Area. The procedure for doing this is explained
below.
When the Command Bar is docked, there is a Split Bar at its top edge as
shown below:

Moving the mouse pointer slowly over the bar will


cause a double-headed up-and-down arrow to
appear.

When the arrow appears, the Left mouse button can be held down to drag the
bar up to show more text.

Introduction

11

The View, Standard View, and Visibility Tool Bars


As you work with 3D models, you will frequently need to modify the magnification
of the program window, as well as the orientation of your model view. In some
cases, it will also be convenient to temporarily hide some parts of your model in
order to focus on other specific parts. These operations are facilitated by the
commands available from the View, Standard View, and Visibility tool bars.
The functions of the View tool bar (shown below undocked) will be illustrated as
you work through the sample sessions. At this stage, it is only important that you
take note of the Refresh Screen speed button.

Some operations may cause parts of your model to temporarily become invisible.
When this occurs, click the Refresh Screen speed button to redraw the model.
The Standard View tool bar (below) allows you to rapidly change the orientation
of your model. It also contains speed buttons for producing a Solid (rendered),
Hidden Line, or Translucent view of your model, in contrast to the default
Wireframe view.

Note that the View and Standard View tool bars are usually docked at the left
edge of the program window.
The Visibility tool bar (below) allows you to hide objects that obstruct your view.
Alternatively, it also allows you to make surfaces semitransparent for
visualization purposes.

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12

The Utilities Tool Bar


The Utilities tool bar (shown below) is easily recognized by the fact that it
contains four drop-down list boxes. The most frequently used list box is the
Geometry Selection Type shown below.

At right, the Geometry Selection Type list


box has been dropped down to show the
five types of entities that can be included
to build selection sets.
You will use this list box frequently not
only to manipulate geometry entities, but
also to assign physical properties to the
geometric model.
Because of the list boxes, it is usually best to dock the Utilities tool bar at the top
of the program window.

Introduction

13

Using 2D Geometry as the Basis for 3D Models


While it is possible to create models directly in 3D, in most cases it is easier to
first create a cross section surface on a 2D plane and then extrude this surface to
create a volume. To do this, you must first use the Plane Manager dialog box to
select a 2D plane.
The Plane Manager dialog box is opened by clicking the [Plane Selection]
speed button on the Utilities tool bar as shown below.

In the picture below, the X=0 plane has been selected in the Plane Manager
dialog box shown at right. In the program Workspace, the X=0 plane becomes
shaded in green to indicate this as shown at left.

Note that the radio button controls at the bottom of


the box provide the choice of either 2D or 3D
display. In this tutorial, we will use 2D display for
geometry construction, and 3D when viewing field
results.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Clicking the [OK] button switches the program to 2D Display mode. Below a
rectangle and a triangle have been constructed in the 2D plane X=0.

In the above picture, note that the [Plane Selection] speed button on the
Utilities tool bar remains pushed in to indicate the program is operating in 2D
Display Mode.

14

Introduction

15

Clicking the [Plane Selection] speed button again returns the program to normal
3D display mode. Any regions created while in 2D mode automatically become
surfaces in 3D mode. Sweeping these surfaces will create volumes.

In the picture above, a Circular Sweep was performed on the rectangle and a
Linear Sweep was performed on the triangle. COULOMB provides several
additional sweep options to permit the construction of more complex volumes.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

16

Key Concepts for working with Commands and Selections


To successfully work with COULOMB you must understand two fundamental
concepts.
First, you should be aware that the command sequence used by COULOMB is
Verb/Noun, which means that a command is initiated before the selection of the
entities that will be subject to the command.
Second, the selection process is automatically cumulative. This means that you
do not have to hold down the Shift or Ctrl keys when adding new entities to an
existing selection. (Selecting any entity a second time removes it from the
selection set.)
When you have completed your selection set, you click the Right mouse button
to inform the program to end selection mode and proceed with the command.
Though these conventions are most likely opposite to those you have seen in
other programs, you will find that they dramatically simplify several operations
that would be difficult to accomplish using the more standard conventions.

Introduction

17

Manual Conventions and Symbols


The typographic conventions used in this manual are explained below:
Standard computer keyboard keys are enclosed by angle brackets (<>), (For
example: <Enter>, <Home>, or <Left Arrow>).
Combinations of keystrokes are shown with a + sign between the keys, (For
example: Press <Alt>+<Print Screen> means to hold down the <Alt> key
on the keyboard and then press the <Print Screen> key).
Directions to press mouse buttons will be given in bold italics, (For example
Right-click means to press and release the right mouse button once.)
Selections of commands from pull-down menus are shown as
Menu>Command, (For example: File>Open means to select the File menu
and then choose Open.)
Buttons and tabs on dialog boxes are enclosed by square brackets ( [ ] ),
(For example: Click [OK], [Apply], or [Cancel]).
Geometry points described in rectangular coordinates will be written in the
format (x,y,z) (For example: (3,4,5) ).
Prompts and messages from the program, as well as data entered by the
user, will be shown in bold type (For example: The Command Line below
displays the program prompt to Locate or enter points, and the user has
responded by typing the coordinates 3,4,5).

This manual uses a number of symbols to highlight specific parts of the text. The
meaning of these symbols is as follows:

The pencil and paper indicates a note about how a function


works, or explains a screen display.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

18

The light bulb indicates a tip about how to use the program
more efficiently. For example, a tip might give you a keyboard
shortcut for a commonly used command.

The exclamation mark indicates an important comment about


using a function or creating the model. These instructions are
crucial for obtaining an accurate solution.

This completes the introduction to COULOMB. You are now ready to proceed to
the first sample session.

Sample Session 1

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SAMPLE SESSION 1: PARALLEL PLATE CAPACITOR


Model Description
We will model a Parallel Plate Capacitor System, and use it to demonstrate the
basic analysis features of COULOMB.
At right, half of the plates have
been hidden to allow an
unobstructed view of a voltage
contour plot.
The capacitor will consist of a
lower disk at a potential of +30 V
(the orange disk at right) and an
upper disk at a potential of 30 V
(the blue disk).

We will also show how Symmetry and Periodicity features can be exploited to
both simplify model construction and reduce the time required to generate
solutions.

The sections that follow will provide numbered step-by-step


instructions that will show you how to construct and analyze
the model. You should take care to follow these steps exactly.
Even more important are the paragraphs at the beginning and
notes throughout each section. Take the time to read these
carefully since they explain the purpose of each step of model
construction, and why they are needed.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

20

Symmetry and Periodicity in Models


The size of a computer model (and hence the solution time) can often be
dramatically reduced by taking advantage of patterns that occur naturally in the
physical system. Our capacitor system provides an example in which two types
of patterns are present, as we will explain below.
The picture at right shows a full view of
both capacitor disks.
First, note that the bottom disk is a mirror
image of the top disk. In addition, the
disks are at potentials that are equal but
opposite. By defining an AntiSymmetric condition, we can cut the
model in half, and simply model the top
disk.
Next, imagine that the top disk has been divided into equal angular sections.
The full disk can be thought of as a combination of copies of a single basic
section repeating in a pattern around the disk axis. By defining an Angular
Periodic condition, we need only model the basic section.
Both techniques can be combined so that the model for the capacitor is
reduced to the modeling of a single angular section of one disk.
We will model a 60-degree section of the
top disk (shown in solid view right). The
parts of the model that can be omitted are
shown in translucent view.
The choice of a 60-degree section is
somewhat arbitrary (for this model), since
the disks are uniform over any angular
span. Most physical systems will have
distinguishing features that will dictate the
angular division of the model.

Sample Session 1

21

We will create the disk section by drawing a


surface in the X=0 plane (shown shaded at
right), and then sweeping (extruding) this
surface about the Z Axis to produce a
volume.

Model Dimensions
The sketch below shows the cross-sections of the capacitor disks. The surface
that we will draw in the X=0 plane is shown crosshatched. All dimensions are in
inches.

It will be convenient to locate the origin of our model space so that the bottom
surface of the upper disk is at a height of Z=0.3 in (this will result in a gap of
0.60 in between the top disk and the mirror image disk).

Before proceeding, you may find it helpful to make a photocopy


of the above sketch so you can refer to the dimensions (without
having to flip back to this page) as you follow the steps in
building the model.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

22

Building the Model


Setting up the Desktop
It is assumed that you have already installed COULOMB and the hardware
security key on your computer. If not, install them now according to the
instruction card that accompanies the program CD before proceeding.
COULOMB is started in the same manner as all standard Windows applications:
1)

Click the [Start] button on the Windows Taskbar.

2)

Select Programs>IES>Coulomb V80.

As a new user, you will find it easier to learn the COULOMB program window by
hiding all but the essential tool bars. Do this by following the steps below:
1) From the COULOMB program
Menu Bar select View>Tool
Bars.
2) This will open the Tool Bars
dialog box shown at right.
3) Change the check boxes in the
Show/Hide tab so that only the
Standard, Modify, View,
Standard View, and Utilities
bars are selected.
4) Click the [OK] button to apply the changes and close the box.
The Standard tool bar (shown at right)
contains speed buttons for common
tasks such as opening, saving and
printing files.
The Modify tool bar can be used to
modify your model. If you make a
mistake, you can click the [Geometry
Undo] speed button to undo your last
geometry change. (The buttons will be
gray until geometry is created.)

Sample Session 1

23

The View, Standard View, and Utilities tool bars were described previously in
the Introduction section of this Quick Start Guide (if you have not already read
the Introduction, please do so now before proceeding).

If during the course of executing a command, you become


confused, you can always press the <Esc> key on your
computer keyboard to terminate the command, and then start
over.

If you hover the mouse


pointer over a speed button,
a Tool Tip will appear to
show its name.
At the same time, the Status
Bar will show an explanation
of the function of the speed
button.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Setting the Model Units


COULOMB uses the International System (SI) units as default.
Our model dimensions are in inches, so we will need to change the Length
units. In addition, we will change the E-Field units to volts/inch.
1) From the COULOMB program
Menu Bar select Utilities>Units
Setup.
2) The Units dialog box will open.
3) In the Base Units section, set the
Length unit to in (for inches).

4) Click the
button to display the
Electrical Units.

5) Set the E-Field unit to V/in (for


volts/inch).

6) Click the [OK] button to apply the


changes and close the box.

24

Sample Session 1

25

You can quickly switch back to all


SI units by selecting this from the
Options menu at the top of the
Units dialog box.

Setting the View Limits


The default view limits range from 1 meter to +1 meter for all three (X, Y, Z)
coordinate axes. When we switched length units to inches, the view limits were
converted accordingly so they range roughly from 39 in. to 39 in. This is larger
than we need, so change the limits as follows:

1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Utilities>View Setup.
2) The View Setup dialog box will open.
3) Change the X, Y and Z limits so that the
Minimum and Maximum settings are 3
and 3 respectively.
4) Click the [Apply] button at the bottom of
the box.
5) Verify that your settings are as shown at
right.

6) Click the [OK] button to close the box.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

26

Creating the Cross-Section Geometry


We will create the 60-degree disk sector by drawing an axial cross-section in the
YZ (X=0) plane, and then sweeping (extruding) this surface through a 60-degree
arc.
To create the cross-section:
1)

On the Utilities tool bar, click the [Plane Selection] speed button.

2)

The Plane Manager dialog box will


open.

3)

In the Planes column, Left-click the


X selection so that it is highlighted as
shown at right.

4)

Verify that the 2D Display radio


button is selected.

5)

Click the [OK] button to apply the


setting and close the box.

6)

The COULOMB program window will


change to 2D viewing mode.

7)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar


select Geometry>Arc>Arc
(Start, End, Center)

8)

The Command Line will show


the prompt Locate or enter the
starting point.

Sample Session 1

9)

27

Using your computer keyboard, type the numbers 2, 0.3 and verify that
they appear in the Command Line as shown below:

10)

Press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

11)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter end point.

12)

Type 2, 0.8 and press <Enter>.

13)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter center.

14)

Type 2, 0.55 and press <Enter>.

15)

An arc will be drawn in the Workspace.

16)

The Arc command is still active so the Command Line will again show the
prompt Locate or enter the starting point (for a new arc).

17)

Press the <Enter> on your keyboard to end the command.

18)

The Message Area will show that there are 3 points, 1 segments, 0
regions, 0 groups. The Command Line will simply show the prompt
Command to indicate that the program is waiting for a command to be
activated.

19)

On the Utilities tool bar click the [Increase Dot


Size] speed button until the dots on the arc are
increased to their maximum size.

20)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Geometry>Poly Line.

21)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter points.

22)

Move the cross hairs of your mouse pointer inside the dot at the
bottom of the arc. The dot will change color to orange and a
small point symbol will appear at the bottom right corner of
the mouse pointer to indicate the point has been located. When
this occurs Left-click to select the point.

23)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter next point.

24)

Type 0, 0.3 and press <Enter>.

25)

Type 0, 0.8 and press <Enter>.

26)

Move the cross hairs of your mouse pointer inside the dot at the top of the
arc and Left-click.

27)

Right-click once to end the current poly line sequence, and then Rightclick a second time to end the Poly Line command.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

28)

28

The Message Area will show that there are 5 points, 4 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups.

At this point, the geometry that you have created should appear as shown below.

Once you have activated a command, Right-clicking while


your mouse is located over the Workspace will accomplish the
same functions as pressing the <Enter> key on your keyboard.

After a command has been terminated, Right-clicking on a


blank area of the Workspace will display the last menu you
used.

Our cross-section geometry is now complete, so we will return to 3D display


mode.
1) On the Utilities tool bar, click the [Plane
Selection] speed button.
2) The program will return to 3D viewing mode,
and the Message Area will update to show that
there are 5 points, 4 segments, 1 surfaces, 0
volumes, 0 groups.

While you are working in the 2D Display mode, the area


enclosed by segments forming a closed path is referred to as a
region. When you switch back to 3D Display mode, any
regions created automatically become surfaces.

Sample Session 1

29

Creating the Disk Volume


To sweep the surface into a volume, we will use the Geometry Operation tool
bar. Display this toolbar either by selecting View>Tool Bars, or use your mouse
to Right-click on a blank section of the program window border as shown below:

1) On the Geometry Operation tool bar, change the Sweep Setting to


Circular.

2) Click the [Sweep Surface] speed button.


3) The Command Line will show the prompt Sweep surface circular:
Select surfaces (if it shows a different prompt, change the Geometry
Selection Type in the Utilities tool bar to Surface).
4) Move your mouse pointer onto the surface. The
surface will change color to orange and a small
surface symbol will appear at the bottom right
corner of the mouse pointer to indicate the
surface will be selected. When this occurs Leftclick to select the surface.
5) Move your mouse pointer to a blank area of your screen. The surface will
turn light green indicating that it has been selected. (The surface will
again turn orange if you move the mouse pointer back onto it. This is to
allow you to undo the selection by clicking on the surface again.)
6) The Command Line will still show the prompt Sweep surface circular:
Select surfaces (this allows you to continue adding surfaces to the
selection set).

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

30

7) Right-click to end the selection process.


8) The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter the starting
point of rotation axis.
9) Type 0, 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
10) The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter end point of
rotation axis.
11) Type 0, 0, 1 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
12) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter rotation angle (deg.).
13) Type 60 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
14) After a few seconds, the surface will be extruded into a volume.
15) The Command Line will again prompt Sweep surface circular: Select
surfaces (the Sweep command is still active).
16) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
17) The Message Area will show that there are 10 points, 9 segments, 5
surfaces, 1 volumes, 0 groups.
(Note that our final geometry has 5 surfaces. We will discuss the significance of
this in the next section.)
You can now hide the Geometry Operation tool bar, since we will not need it
again in this sample session.
If you have followed the above instructions
carefully, your geometry should appear similar to
that shown at right.

At this point we have completed the geometric model, so it is a good idea to save
your work.
1)

From the COULOMB program Menu Bar select File>Save As.

2)

The Save Database dialog box will open.

3)

Type the name Sample1 in the File name field.

4)

Click the [Save] button.

Sample Session 1

All of the pictures in this sample session show dark lines on a


white background, but your program most likely opened with a
gradient background.
To change the background color of your screen, select
Utilities>Settings to open the Settings dialog box. In the
[Applications Options] tab, select View to alter the
appearance of your program window.
For example, the settings shown below produce a white
background screen with neither the 3D Grid nor IES Logo.

31

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

32

Artificial Boundary Surfaces


In most cases, models that employ symmetry and/or periodicity require additional
artificial boundary surfaces that would not be present in the full model
geometry. Such is the case for our model.
The upper right picture shows the three
surfaces that form the top, bottom, and the
rounded edge of the disk section.

The lower right picture shows the two artificial


boundary surfaces that are required in order to
truncate the disk section for our periodic model.
These are artificial in the sense that they would
not be present if we created a full disk model.
We will have more to say on the significance of these surfaces when we come to
assigning the physical properties of the model.

Sample Session 1

33

Changing the View Characteristics


Before we assign physical properties, we will change the view characteristics so
that it will be easier to work on the model. First, we will switch to Translucent
view mode.
1)

On the Standard View


tool bar, click the
[Translucent view]
speed button.

2)

The geometry display


will change from the
default Wireframe, to
the Translucent view
mode as shown at right
(this mode gives better
depth perception).

Next, we will rotate our view position. (Note that in the instructions that follow,
<Right Arrow> and <Left Arrow> refer to the cursor control arrows on your
computer keyboard.)
1) Press your <Right Arrow> key six times. Note that every time you press
the key the model appears to rotate to the Left. (This is because your view
position is rotating to the Right.)
2) When you have pressed the key for the sixth
time, your new view should appear as shown
at right.
3) Now press and hold down your <Left Arrow>
key. This will cause the model to rotate
continuously until you release the key.
4) Using the arrow keys, rotate your view until
your model is orientated approximately as
shown at right. (This view gives us easy
access to the surfaces that will be assigned
boundary conditions.)

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

34

The Rotation Step that occurs each time an arrow key is


pressed can be changed in the View Setup dialog box.
Note also that the Orientation Indicator
(shown right) also rotates as you rotate your
model view.

You can quickly rotate the model back to the default orientation
by using the [Isometric] speed button on the Standard View
tool bar.

Assigning Physical Properties


Overview of Physical Properties
Having completed the model geometry, we will now assign physical properties
that will determine the nature of the final field solution. Specifically, we will need
to set the following characteristics:
An Anti-Symmetric condition across the Z=0 Plane.
An Angular Periodic setting about the Z-axis. This will also require the
assignment of a Periodic Boundary Condition to the two Artificial
Boundary Surfaces that truncate the disk section.
A Voltage Boundary Condition of 30 Volts on the remaining three disk
surfaces.

Sample Session 1

35

Defining Symmetry and Periodicity Settings


To define the Symmetry and Periodicity settings for our model, follow the steps
below:
1)

Make sure the Geometry Selection


Type in the Utilities tool bar is set to
Surface.

2)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Symmetry and


Periodicity Setup.

3)

The Symmetry and Periodicity Setup dialog box will open.

4)

In the Symmetry area of the box, select the Symmetric Boundary radio
button, and set the Z=0 Plane list box to Anti-Symmetric.

5)

In the Periodicity area of the box, select the Angular Periodic radio
button, set the About Z axis list box to Periodic, and the Total Sections
in Full Model field to 6.

6)

In the Periodic Boundaries area of the box, click the [Assign] button.

7)

The dialog box will become hidden to permit a full view of the workspace
and the Command Line will show the prompt: Assign periodic
boundary: Select surfaces.

8)

Move your mouse pointer onto the right-hand


cross-section surface. When it turns orange,
Left-click to select it.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

9)

36

The right hand cross-section surface will change color to light green to
indicate that it has been selected.

10)

Now move your mouse pointer onto the left-hand cross-section surface.
When it turns orange, Left-click to select it.

11)

Move your mouse pointer to a blank area of the screen. Both crosssection surfaces should remain highlighted in light green (if any other
surfaces are highlighted, press the <Esc> key on your keyboard and
return to step 1) above).

12)

Right-click to end the selection process and assign the periodic


conditions.

13)

The boundary surface segments will change color to yellow, and the
dialog box will reappear.

14)

Click the [OK] button to apply the settings and close the box.

You may have noticed that while there is a button for selecting periodic
geometry, there is no such control for symmetric geometry. Surfaces that lie in a
symmetry plane are automatically detected by the program, and do not require
the assignment of boundary conditions.
Periodic boundary conditions override all other types of
boundary conditions. Once a surface has been assigned as
periodic, no other conditions can be assigned to it.

Often your mouse pointer will display double


symbols (as shown at right) to indicate situations
when alternate selections are possible.
The default selection will be shown in orange but you can
cycle through the alternate items by holding down your
keyboards <Ctrl> key and clicking the left mouse button.
When the desired object is light green, release the <Ctrl>
key and Left-click to select it.

Sample Session 1

37

Assigning the Voltage Boundary Conditions


Of the five surfaces that comprise the disk section volume, two have been
assigned a periodic condition, and the remaining three require a voltage
boundary condition. Rather than selecting each of the three surfaces, we can
save time by assigning the voltage to the entire disk volume since the periodic
condition will override any other type of assignment.
To assign the Voltage boundary conditions:
1)

Set the Geometry Selection Type


in the Utilities tool bar to Volume.

2)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Boundary


Conditions>Voltage (Uniform).

3)

The Command Line will show the prompt Assign uniform voltage:
Select volumes.

4)

Move your mouse pointer onto the disk section.


It will change color to orange and a small volume
symbol
will appear at the bottom right corner
of the mouse pointer to indicate the volume will
be selected. When this occurs Left-click to
select the volume.

5)

Move your mouse pointer to a blank area of the workspace. The disk
volume should be colored light green and the Command Line will again
prompt Assign uniform voltage: Select volumes.

6)

Right-click to end the selection process.

7)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the voltage [V].

8)

Type 30 and press <Enter>.

9)

The disk segments will change color and should


appear similar to those shown at right. Note that
only the segment on the Z axis remained yellow.

10)

The Command Line will again prompt Assign constant voltage: Select
Volumes.

11)

Right-click to end the command.

12)

On the Standard View tool bar,


click the [Solid view] speed
button.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

38

13)

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to rotate your view so that you can
examine the color shading applied to model surfaces.

14)

If the boundary conditions are properly applied,


the two cross-section periodic surfaces will be
shaded in yellow, but all other surfaces will be
shaded in violet as shown on the right.

If your model does not appear as above, return to the start of the section
detailing the assignment of the Periodic conditions and begin again.
This completes the assignment of physical properties. Once again, it is a good
idea to save your model before continuing.

The general procedure for selecting geometry objects (after a


command has been started) is as follows:
1) Set the Geometry Selection Type box on the Utilities
Tool Bar to the required type of object.
2) Move your mouse pointer onto the object; when you are
close enough to select it, the object will change color to
orange.
3) Left-click to select the object. (Left-clicking the object
a second time will deselect it.)
4) Repeat the above steps as needed to add other objects
to the selection set (you can change the Geometry
Selection Type box setting at any point as needed).
5) When all selections have been made, Right-click to
end the selection process.

At this point, we assume that you are somewhat familiar with


the procedure for selecting geometry. For the remainder of this
manual we will often simply instruct you to Select an item,
rather than detailing all the required steps.

Sample Session 1

39

Generating the Field Solution


Introduction to Element Meshes
So far, we have built the geometry and assigned physical properties to our
model. The last step required before solving the model is to discretize the
model geometry using element meshes. This procedure subdivides continuous
real world geometry into discrete building blocks suitable for numerical
simulation.
The concept of solving mathematical problems over small discrete intervals will
be familiar to you from calculus and numerical analysis courses. In single
variable (1D) problems, the intervals were line segments. More complex 2D and
3D problems required differential area and volume elements.
Similarly, numerical field solvers employ a variety of
element meshes depending on the nature of the
required simulation.
At right, we show the Solution menu and the
element selections available. Note that there are
several options not only for the dimension of
elements, but also for the geometric shape of
elements. In the next two sections, we will discuss
how to select the proper types of elements
depending on model characteristics.

You should read the next two sections carefully, since you
must understand the concepts discussed in them before you
can begin working with models of your own (as opposed to the
simple models presented in this tutorial).

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

40

Determining the Required Dimension of Elements


The dimension of elements required depend on two main factors:
The choice of numerical field solver method for performing the simulation.
The default solver type is the Boundary Element Method (BEM), but
Finite Element Method (FEM) solvers are also available.
The nature of the physical properties assigned to the model. For example,
the types boundary conditions, material properties, and electric charge
distributions will influence the type of elements needed.
Only 3D elements are valid for FEM simulations. In contrast, BEM simulations
will rarely require 3D elements, and will almost always use only 2D elements
(though in special problems 1D elements may also be desired).
At first, it may appear that FEM is simpler, since only 3D elements are used.
However, FEM requires an artificial truncation of the model space by a user
created boundary box, and requires some experience to produce a correct field
solution. We will instead use BEM for the simulations of in this tutorial because
of its ease of use, accuracy and wide applicability.
In addition, all of the simulations in this tutorial guide will share the following
physical characteristics:
Only surfaces - and not segments - will be assigned boundary conditions.
All dielectric materials will be assumed to be linear, i.e. they will have
constant permittivity independent of electric field intensity.
None of the simulations will require the assignment of volume charges.
Since no segments will be assigned boundary conditions, we will not need 1D
elements. Also, simulations performed using BEM require 3D elements only in
volumes where nonlinear materials or volume charges are present. Since
neither of these situations will be present in our tutorial sample sessions, 3D
elements will not be needed. The net result of our choice of the BEM solver
combined with the physical restrictions on our models, is that we will require only
2D elements for the sample sessions in this tutorial.

Sample Session 1

41

Selecting the Shape of Elements


The previous section explained how the required dimensions of elements was
determined by the solver method selected and the physical properties of the
model. In contrast, the nature of the model geometry is the main factor
influencing the choice of element shapes.
In the case of 1D elements, only one choice is possible. The elements will
conform to the shape of the segments they are assigned to. Note that the term
segment includes arcs and free form curves (NURBS) as well as simple
straight-line segments.
Elements assigned to surfaces must be two-dimensional. Two types of surface
elements are available: 2D Triangular Elements and 2D Quadrilateral
Elements. Any surface can be assigned 2D Triangular elements, but only foursided surfaces can be assigned 2D Quadrilateral elements. Note that the
sides of a four-sided surface can be composed of more than one segment. And
here again, arcs and free form curves can be used as sides.
An analogous situation occurs for 3D volume elements. Any volume may be
assigned 3D Tetrahedral Elements, but only six-sided volumes can be
assigned 3D Brick Elements. In addition, bricks can only be assigned when the
surfaces forming the sides of a volume are four-sided surfaces as described
previously.
Because brick and quadrilateral elements can only be applied to restricted
geometry types, they are not recommended in general. However, when they can
be applied, they will generally produce superior accuracy for the fewest number
of elements.
(We have not discussed 3D Prism Elements, which are the third type of volume
element available, because they are of use in specialized applications beyond
the scope of this tutorial guide.)
At right, we show the Solution menu with the 3D
Tetrahedral Elements and 2D Triangular
Elements selections outlined. These are the
preferred element types since they do require any
special geometry restrictions.
From the previous section, we determined that our
model requires only 2D elements. In the next
section we will assign 2D Triangular Elements
using the automatic element generator.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

42

Generating the Element Mesh


The picture at right shows the
Solution menu and the 2D Triangular
Elements submenu.
We will use the Automatic All
command to create meshes on those
surfaces that require elements.

Before proceeding, click the [Hidden lines view] speed button on the Standard
View tool bar, and then use your keyboard arrow keys to rotate your model so
that it is orientated approximately as shown at above.
1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Solution> 2D Triangular
Elements>Automatic All.
2) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter approximate number of
triangles in total.
3) Type 500 and press the <Enter> key on your keyboard.
4) COULOMB will assign elements to the appropriate surfaces, and display
the total number of elements in the Message Area.

If you have built the model correctly, elements


will appear only on the surfaces that were
assigned the voltage boundary condition as
shown at right. (The surfaces assigned as
angular periodic do not require elements.)
If your model does not appear similar to the one above, retrace your steps from
the beginning of this sample session. If after rebuilding the model you still do not
obtain a proper element distribution, feel free to contact technical support at
Integrated Engineering Software for assistance.

Sample Session 1

43

The model is now ready to be solved.

Solving the Model


We will use the default solver settings to generate the field solution. This model
should require less than a minute to solve (depending on the speed of your
computer).

1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Solution>Solve.
2) The Run Solver dialog box will open,
and the model will begin solving (if for
some reason you need to abort the
solution, you can click the [Quit Solver]
button).

3) While the solver is running, the Message Area and Status Bar will display
information on the progress of the solution.

4) When the solution is completed, the


Field Analysis Result dialog box will
open automatically.
At this point, it is a good idea to again save
your model.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

44

Analyzing the Field Results


Creating a Voltage Contour Plot
For a fast qualitative check on the validity of the field solution we will create a
Contour plot to show how the Voltage varies on a plane cutting through the
model space.
1)

On the Utilities tool bar, click the [Grid On/Off] and [Snap On/Off] speed
buttons, then click the [Plane Selection] speed button.

2)

Plane Manager dialog box will open.

3)

In the Planes column, Left-click the X


selection so that it is highlighted as shown at
right.

4)

Change the settings in the Select 2D/3D


Display so that the 3D Display radio button is
selected.

5)

Verify that your box settings are as shown at


right.

6)

Click the [OK] button to apply the setting and


close the box.

7)

On the Field Analysis Result dialog


box, set the View Type to Voltage and
the Display Form to Contours.

8)

Set the Grid Density to Medium


Density and the Location to On Plane.

9)

Click the small


button in the lower
right-hand corner to open the bottom
half of the box to View additional
settings.

Sample Session 1

10)

The bottom half of the box will open.

11)

Set the Number of Contours field to


16 as shown at right.

12)

Click the [New Plot] button.

13)

The dialog box will become hidden,


and the Command Line will show the
prompt: Select or enter first corner
point.

14)

Move your mouse pointer onto the


workspace. This will cause a grid to
appear on the X=0 plane.

15)

Move the mouse cross-hairs onto the


bottom left-hand corner of the grid square
at the top right edge of the grid as shown
at right. Left-click to select it.

16)

The Command Line will show the prompt


Locate or enter end point of first side.

17)

Move the mouse cross-hairs onto the top


left-hand corner of the grid square at the
bottom right edge of the grid as shown at
right. Left-click to select it.

18)

The Command Line will show the prompt


Locate or enter point on second side.

45

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

19)

Move the mouse cross-hairs onto the top


right-hand corner of the grid square at the
bottom left edge of the grid as shown at
right. Left-click to select it.

20)

The program will begin calculating the


contour plot.

46

When your plot is finished, it should appear


similar to the one shown below. Note that the
contours indicate the outline of the disk sections
that were omitted because of the symmetry and
periodicity settings.

If your plot does not exhibit these


features, you most likely have made
an error either in constructing the
model, or in the symmetry and
periodicity settings. Carefully retrace
the sections of this sample session,
and feel free to contact Integrated
Engineering Software for technical
support.

Sample Session 1

47

If you would like a bar scale displaying the numeric values of


the different contour colors, select Options>Put Scale from
the menu at the top of the Field Analysis Result dialog box.

Creating a Graph of the E-Field


To analyze the solution in a more quantitative manner, we will create a graph of
the Z Component of the E-Field along a line midway between the two disks.
1) On the Field Analysis Result dialog
box, set the View Type to E-Field, and
the Display Form to Graphs.
2) In the Component Field, select Z
Component.
3) Set the Location to Graph Along Line.
4) Click the [New Graph] button.
5) The Field Analysis Result dialog will become hidden, and the Command
Line will show the prompt Locate or enter the starting point of the line.
6) Type 3, 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
7) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter the end point
of the line.
8) Type -3, 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
9) The Status Bar will display Computing E-Field as it calculates the graph.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

COULOMB stores the last used (x,y,z) coordinates in a buffer,


so you can also input data points as modifications of these
values by a method called Formula Entry.
In the example below, the user first entered 3, 0, 0 for the start
point and then entered -x, y, z instead of -3, 0, 0 for the end
point.

You can also enter coordinates as algebraic expressions. For


example, (x-6), Sqrt(y^2), (x-3) would be a valid expression for
the second point -3, 0, 0.

When the graph points have


been calculated, an
AutoGraph window will open
as shown at right.

48

Sample Session 1

49

An expanded view of the center portion of the graph is shown below:

Note that the middle of the Ez plot is extremely flat, with a value of 100 Volts/in.
This is the expected result, considering the potentials on the disks and the
spacing between them.
Also, note the tool tip indicator that appears when
you hover your mouse pointer over a graph point
marker.

This tool tip shows the coordinates of the graph


point.
Right-clicking while a tool tip is showing displays
the Graph Function Menu shown at right.

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Selecting the Differentiation


option will open a new
window with a plot that is the
derivative of the original graph
as shown at right.
Our analysis of the field
results is now complete.
Resave the database to save
the graph results.

Conclusion
This sample session has introduced most of the basic techniques that you will
need to use to perform COULOMB simulations, and to analyze results.
The rest of this manual will build on these basics skills, so you may find it
beneficial to repeat this first sample session before proceeding on.

We will reuse the capacitor in the next sample session, so be


sure to save your model.

50

Sample Session 3

51

SAMPLE SESSION 2: A SIMPLE PARAMETRIC EXAMPLE


Overview of Parametrics
Quite often, you will want to perform simulations on several models that are slight
variations of the same basic design. These situations can be conveniently
handled by using the built in Parametric Utility.
We will demonstrate this
by performing a
parametric analysis using
the capacitor model from
the first sample session.
Suppose that we wished
to examine the variation
of attractive force on the
plates as a function of the
gap between them. The
graph at right shows the
increase in force as the
plate separation is
reduced to half the
original gap over a
series of 16 steps.

To obtain the graph data, we could calculate and record the force from our
original model, and then reduce the gap and solve for the change in force. By
repeating this process manually, we would eventually obtain all 16 data points.
Fortunately, we can automate this process and perform a parametric run that will
not only create each model variation, but will also collect the force data at each
step.

We will use the database file from the first sample session as
our base model. If you have not already worked through the
first sample session, please do so now before proceeding.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Basic Stages for Performing Parametric Analyses


The general procedure for conducting a parametric analysis consists of four
basic stages:
1) Create the base model that will be used in the first step of the parametric
run. It is also a good idea to solve and analyze the base model to ensure
it has been properly built.
2) Define the parameter loop structure and postprocessing options for each
parametric step (essentially set up a batch file that runs multiple analyses
unattended).
3) Run the parametric batch file. This will create and solve each model
variation and perform the postprocessing settings. The data collected will
be recorded into a results database file that you specify at the start of the
run. In addition, the program default is to save each parametric step
variation as a separate database file. (Additional files may also be created
depending on the postprocessing settings. Alternatively, you may also
change the default so that the individual step files are not saved. We will
discuss this in more detail in later sections.)
4) Analyze the results of the parametric batch run.
The reason for the first stage is that geometry cannot be created or deleted
during a parametric run (though modifying existing geometry is permitted). The
program will not let you set up a parametric unless you already have a valid
model open in the workspace. In our case, we will reuse the model from the first
sample session, so the first stage has already been completed.

Sample Session 3

53

Defining Parameter Loop Structure and Postprocessing Options


Switching to Parametric Setup Mode
As explained in the previous section, COULOMB will not allow you to begin
defining a parametric unless a database is open that meets certain requirements.
These conditions are already taken care of in the database Sample 1.dbs that
we built and solved in the first sample session.
1)

From the COULOMB program Menu Bar select File>Open.

2)

Reopen the database file Sample 1.dbs from the first sample session.

So far, we have been using the COULOMB program in its normal operation
mode to create geometry, assign physical properties, and then solve and analyze
completed models. Switching COULOMB to Parametric Setup Mode will
enable us to define a range of model variations for multiple solutions, and the
analysis options for each case.
1)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Utilities>Parametrics On/Off.

2)

The COULOMB program window will change


to parametric setup mode.

Note that the Message Area


shows that a batch file has been
opened for defining parametrics
and post-processing options.

Note also that the Menu bar has changed


and now contains a Parametrics heading.

54

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Defining the Gap Parameter


To vary the gap separating the plates, we will define a parameter that displaces
the upper plate region downward 0.15 inches over a series of 16 steps. (Recall
that our model was set up as anti-symmetric across the Z=0 plane. As the upper
plate is moved downward, its image will move upward, so in the end the final gap
will be reduced to 0.3 inches which is half the original gap.)
Below left, we show the Parameter Editor dialog box with the parameter Gap
completely defined. The object representing the upper plate volume is shown
highlighted in green at right to indicate that it is associated with the Gap
parameter.

We will create the Gap parameter as follows:


1)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar


select Parametrics>Parametric
Setup.

2)

The Parametric Setup dialog


box will open. Note that the fields
in the box are blank, since no
parameters are yet defined.

3)

Click the [Create] button at the


bottom of the box.

Sample Session 3

55

4)

The Parameter Editor dialog box will open.

5)

At the top of the box, verify that the Parameter Type is set to
Geometry:Displacement, and that the Loop number is set to 1

6)

Type Gap in the Parameter Name field, and set the number of Steps to
16.

7)

Verify that the Creating Parameter Table By list box in the middle of the
box is set to Linear Steps.

8)

Set the Reference Point(x,y,z) fields to 0, 0 and 0.3, and the Target
Point(x,y,z) fields to 0, 0 and 0.15. Note that the [Apply Create] button at
the bottom left of the box is grayed-out since we have not yet selected any
geometry entities to be displaced.

9)

On the Utilities Tool Bar, set the Geometry Selection Type box so that it
displays Volume.

10)

On the Parameter Editor dialog box, click the


[Select Geometry] button.

11)

The Parameter dialog boxes will become hidden and the Command Line
will show the prompt Select volumes.

12)

Move your mouse pointer (cursor) onto the plate volume. When the volume
turns orange, Left-click to select it, and then Right-click to end the
selection process.

56

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

13)

The Parameter Editor dialog will reappear, and


the [Apply Create] button at the bottom of the
box will now be active. Click on it to apply the
box settings and create the parameter.

14)

The Parameter Editor box will


close, and the Parametric Setup
dialog box will update to show that
the parameter Gap has been
created.

15)

At the bottom right-hand corner of


the box are two small arrow
buttons. Click the right-hand
arrow button to Open Loop View.

16)

The loop view shows 1


parameters, 1 loops, 16
steps in the Parametric
Definition pane.
Note also that at this point
there are 0 settings defined in
the Parametric
Postprocessing pane.

17)

Click the left-hand arrow


button to Open Parameter
Value Table.

18)

The table view shows


the X, Y and Z
Displacement values
for each of the 16 steps.
If you have defined the
Gap parameter
correctly, all of the X
and Y values should be
0, and the Z values
should start at 0.3 and
end at 0.15 as shown at
right.

If your table does not appear the same, click the [Modify] button to reopen the
Parameter Editor dialog and repeat steps 5) through 8) above.

Sample Session 3

57

We will not need the table view again so close it by clicking the left-hand arrow
button.

The table section of the Parametric Setup dialog box shows


values for individual parameters one at a time. If you have
defined several parameters, click the [Display Table] button to
open the separate Final Parametric Table to see all
parameters in the same view.

Checking the Validity of the Parametric Definition


Depending on the complexity of the model, and the number of parametric steps,
a parametric run may take several hours to complete. If the parametric has been
improperly defined, these hours of computer time will be wasted.
Validating the parametric can help to prevent this by performing a dry run that
quickly goes through the steps of the parametric without actually solving the
model or performing any postprocessing calculations. This check can be
performed by a single command as shown below.
1)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Parametrics>Parameter Validate.

2)

On your monitor, you should see the plate


volume descend, and then return to its
original position.

If you did not see the plate descend and then return to its original position,
retrace the steps in the sections where the parameters are defined. If your
model performed as expected, you can proceed to defining postprocessing
options.

Defining Postprocessing to Complete the Parametric Definition


At this point, our parametric batch file contains only the information on how the
different model variations are to be constructed at each step. If we were to now
run the parametric, COULOMB would simply construct, solve and save the
different models. We would then have to manually open each database to
perform postprocessing analyses.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Fortunately, the parametric utility also allows us to specify postprocessing


settings to be performed on each model variation. This provides the added
advantage of automatically collecting data from each parametric step. (We will
explain where this data is stored in the next section.)
Defining the postprocessing settings while in parametric setup mode is similar to
performing postprocessing on a solved database. All of the commands in the
Analysis menu are functional, as well as all of the plotting options in the Field
Analysis Result dialog box.
For our parametric run, we will calculate the force on the plate at each step. In
addition, we will have a Voltage contour plot created at each step, which we can
then display in an animation file.
To define the force calculation:
1)

From the COULOMB Menu


Bar select
Analysis>Force>Coulomb
Force on Volume.

2)

The Message Area will


show the prompt Force on
volume: Select volumes.

3)

Move your mouse pointer (cursor) onto the plate volume. When it turns
orange Left-click to select it, and then Right-click to end the selection
process. Right-click again to end the command.

4)

The Parametric Postprocessing settings in the Parametric Setup dialog


box will update to show the force calculation.

5)

Left-click on the Force on volume setting to highlight it in the loop view


of the dialog box.

6)

In the main program window, the plate volume will change color to green
to show that it corresponds to the Force on volume calculation.

Sample Session 3

59

During the course of a parametric run, solved database files will be created for
each step. We can use the settings in the Field Analysis Result dialog box to
create plots and/or graphs that will be saved in each file. You can then open
each file individually to examine the plot/graph created for each model variation.
In addition, we can define our parametric postprocessing to create bitmap (.bmp)
files from the individual contour plots and combine these into an animation (.avi)
file. In our case, we will create an animation of a Voltage contour plot.
It is a good idea to enable the animation feature before specifying the plot
options. If you forget to do this and run the parametric, the contour plots will still
be created, but the bitmaps and the animation will not.
1) From the COULOMB program Menu Bar,
select Parametrics>Create Animation
On/Off to activate the animation feature.

2) From the COULOMB program Menu Bar, select Analysis>Field Results.


3) The Field Analysis Result dialog box will open.
4) Set the View Type to Voltage and the
Display Form to Contours.
5) Set the Grid Density to Medium Density
and the Location to On Plane.
6) Click the small
button in the lower righthand corner to open the bottom half of the
box to View additional settings.

7) The bottom half of the box will open.


8) Set the Number of Contours field to 16
as shown at right.
9) Click the [New Plot] button.
10) The Field Analysis Result dialog will
become hidden, and the Command Line
will show the prompt Select or enter first
corner point.
11) Type 3, 0, 2 and press <Enter>.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

12) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter end point of
first side.
13) Type 3, 0, 2 and press <Enter>.
14) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter point on second
side.
15) Type 3, 0, 2 and press <Enter>.
16) The Parametric Postprocessing pane will update to show the new setting
for the contour plot.
17) Left-click on the V
contour plot on
plane setting to
highlight it in the
loop view of the
dialog box.
18) An outline of the
plotting plane will
be shown in the
workspace.
This completes our parametric setup. However, before we return to normal
program mode, we will take some time to explain how parametric data files are
handled.

In the first sample session, it was mentioned that data points


could often be entered most conveniently using the Formula
Entry capabilities built into the program. Plots on planes
(such as the voltage contour plot postprocessing setting just
entered) are particularly well suited to this.
In the example below, the user first entered 3, 0, 2 for the first
corner point, then -x, y, z instead of -3, 0, 2 for the end point of
the first side, and finally x, y, -z instead of -3, 0, -2 for the point
on the second side.

Sample Session 3

61

Parametric File Management


Types of Files Created during Parametric Runs
You should be aware that parametric runs typically generate a large number of
new files. In this section, we will explain why this occurs, and in the following
section, we will show how best to organize the resulting files.
At the start of this sample session, we explained that a parametric run is
essentially a batch run that creates and solves a number of models that are
modifications of a base model. The program default settings are such that each
model variation is saved in a unique file.
You can confirm this, by selecting
Utilities>Settings from the COULOMB
program Menu Bar to open the Settings
dialog box.

At right, we have brought the


[Document Properties] tab to
the foreground and selected the
Solver options in the tree view.
Note that the Save Parametric
Files box is checked. This is the
program default setting. It is
also the required setting if you
wish to create animations.
The number of files that will be saved depends not only on the number of steps in
the parametric run, but also on the type of postprocessing settings as well.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

At right, we show the completed loop


view with both the Parametric Definition
and Parametric Postprocessing panes.
Note that the Definition pane at top
shows that there are 16 total steps. This
means that field solutions will be
generated for sixteen separate model
variations during the batch run.
Note also, that the Postprocessing pane below shows that there are 2 settings.
This means that the batch run will perform two types of analyses on each of the
twenty-one model variations.
A database file (such as the file Sample 1.dbs that we are now working with) can
only store a single field solution. For this reason, COULOMB must create at
least one new database file for each model variation in order to save the field
solutions at each step. Since a new model is created at each step, the minimum
number of new files created will be equal to the total number of steps in the
parametric run.
However, certain postprocessing settings may require that more than one
database file be saved for each parametric step. Postprocessing options that
display multiple values (such as contours, graphs, arrows etc.) must be saved
in database files. In our case, a single contour plot of the Voltage distribution will
be created at each step, so this data can be stored with the solved database step
file. If in addition to the contour plot, our postprocessing settings included a
graph (or arrow, or a second contour plot), COULOMB would then produce two
database files at each step.
By way of contrast, the first postprocessing setting (the computation of Force on
region) involves only a single value. When the program is operated in normal
mode, this value would be displayed in the Message Area, but during a
parametric run, it is saved as a column in the Final Parametric Table.
Additional single-value postprocessing settings would increase the number of
table columns, but would not require any additional database files. (We will have
more to say on where the Final Parametric Table is stored in a later section.)

Sample Session 3

63

Every multi-value post processing setting will require a solved


database file. The final number of database files produced by a
parametric run will equal the number of parametric steps
multiplied by the number of multi-value settings. (If there are
no multi-value settings, the final number of database files will
simply equal the number of parametric steps.)

In addition to the new COULOMB database files, our parametric run will also
generate image and video files.
Recall that before we defined the postprocessing
settings, we selected the Create Animation
feature. This will cause a screen capture at each
step, which will be saved in bitmap (.bmp) format.
After the last parametric step, the individual .bmp files will be used to produce a
Windows Video (.avi) file, which will be used to display the animation.

Creating a Folder for the Parametric Files


In the previous section, we explained how parametric runs create large numbers
of data files. By default, these files are saved to the same folder as the database
file that contains the batch definition. Therefore, in order to avoid confusion, we
recommend that you create a separate folder for each parametric run.
We will now return to normal program mode, and create a new folder called Gap
Parametric for the parametric run. We will also save our current database file
under the new name Parametric Defined (to indicate it contains the setup for
the batch run).
1)

From the COULOMB program Menu Bar select Utilities>Parametrics


On/Off.

2)

The COULOMB program window will return to normal operating mode.

3)

From the COULOMB program Menu Bar select File>Save As.

4)

The Save Database dialog box will open.

5)

Create a new folder called Gap Parametric.

6)

Save the database to this folder using the name Parametric Defined.

We are now ready to run the parametric.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Running the Parametric


Parametric Result Database File
In our discussion of parametric file management, we omitted mention of separate
database files that contain a summary of the parametric run. These files are
optional, but we recommend using them, as we will explain below.
We said earlier that the results from single-value postprocessing settings
would be accumulated as columns in the Final Parametric Table, but we did not
specifically state where this table would be stored. The table will be stored in a
file that you designate to be the Parametric Result Database File.
You make this designation at the start of the parametric run. You have the option
of using the same file that contains the batch setup as the result file, but this can
be a disadvantage if the parametric is intentionally or accidentally terminated
before the end of the run. If it is then desired to rerun the parametric, you will
need to first manually reset the model back to the initial conditions at the start of
the run. It is therefore recommended that these files be kept separate.
To keep the files separate, we will use a new database file called Parametric
Results to store the final parametric table.
Starting the Parametric Run
1)

From the COULOMB


Menu Bar select
Utilities>Run
Parametric.

2)

A Select Parametric
Result Database File
dialog box will open.

3)

Type Parametric
Results for the File
name and click the
[Save] button.

4)

The parametric run will


begin.

Sample Session 3

65

While the parametric is running, a Parametric Step dialog continuously updates


to show the current step.

The run can be halted at any time by clicking on the [Quit] button.
When the last step is finished, a dialog
box opens to inform that the analysis is
completed.
Click the [OK] button and proceed to the
next section where we will analyze the
results of the run.

Analysis of Results
With the parametric run completed, we will now explore the various ways of
viewing the results. For this model we will:
Create a graph showing the force variation as a function of gap.
View the 16-step animation file.

Creating a Graph of Force Measurements


The Parametric Results file will contain the data for the force calculation at each
parametric step.
1)

From the COULOMB program Menu Bar select File>Open.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

2)

The Open Database dialog box


will open. Note that there are
now 16 database files
corresponding to the number of
model variations, as well as a
Parametric Results file.

3)

Double-click the Parametric


Results file to open it.

4)

From the COULOMB Menu


Bar select
Utilities>Parametric Results.

5)

The Final Parametric Table will open displaying the results of the
parametric run.

6)

Click the [Graph Results] button at the bottom of the box.

7)

The Graph Results dialog box will


open.

8)

Set the Dependent Variable field


to the Fz(N) setting.

9)

Click the [Graph Results] button


to plot the graph.

10)

An AutoGraph window will open


with a plot of the Fz variation over
the 16 steps of the parametric run.

Sample Session 3

67

Your plot should appear similar to the one shown below. Note that the force on
the upper plate is in the negative Z direction.

The data in the Final Parametric Table can also be copied to


the Windows Clipboard by clicking the [Copy to Clipboard]
button. You can then paste the data directly into other
applications.

Viewing the Animation of the Voltage Contour Plots


One of the postprocessing settings defined during parametric setup was the
command to create a Voltage contour plot. This should have occurred at each
parametric step (you can view any of the individual plots by opening the
corresponding parametric step file). In addition, we set up the parametric to
combine the individual plots into an .avi animation file.
As the final exercise in this sample session, we will view the animation.
1)

Return to the Final Parametric Table and


click the [Play Animation] button.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

2)

The Play Animation dialog box will


open.

3)

The file p0000016.avi will be shown in


the list box.

4)

Click the [Play] button.

Your Windows Media Player should open


and run the animation of the Voltage
contour plots.
When you have finished viewing the
animation, close the Windows Media
Player and then close the Play
Animation dialog by clicking the
[Cancel] button.

Conclusion
This sample session has shown the steps you will need to follow to perform a
parametric analysis.
We cannot, of course, demonstrate all possible applications of COULOMBs
parametric utility in a single brief tutorial, but hopefully you have gained a basic
understanding which will allow you to handle most of the situations you will
encounter with your own models.
Should you have additional questions, feel free to contact the technical support
staff at Integrated Engineering Software Inc.

Sample Session 3

69

SAMPLE SESSION 3: HIGH VOLTAGE INSULATOR


Model Description
We will model an elementary High Voltage Insulator unit to illustrate the
application of floating conductors, and the concept of unbalanced mode
analysis.
The insulator consists of five components: three identical conductive plates (also
called electrodes), and two identical porcelain dielectric sections.
The picture at right shows a
cutaway view of the insulator.
The two sections of porcelain
dielectric are stacked one on
top of the other with a plate inbetween them that joins them
together. The plate at the top of
the upper porcelain section is at
a potential of 10 kV and the
plate at the bottom of the lower
porcelain section is grounded.
The exposed surfaces in the
cutaway view are overlaid with
a color contour voltage plot. On
the top plate, these surfaces
show dark red shading
indicating the 10 kV potential,
while the bottom plate surfaces
are dark blue corresponding to
the ground potential. The
middle plate (that connects the
two porcelain sections) floats to
an intermediate potential as
indicated by the blue-green
shading on its exposed
surfaces.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

As is in the first sample session, we will use the


angular periodic nature of the insulator to reduce the
model to a single 60-degree section as shown at right.
We will create the axial cross-section surfaces for the
model (shown shaded at right) in the X=0 plane, and
then perform a circular sweep of these surfaces about
the Z-axis to create the plate and dielectric volumes.
Because the insulator is constructed from three
identical plates and two identical dielectric sections,
we will only need to create a few basic parts of the
geometry which we can then copy to create the full
model.

This sample session builds on the skills that you acquired from
the first sample session. If you have not completed the first
sample session, please do so now before proceeding.

Sample Session 3
Model Dimensions
The sketch below shows the cross-section surfaces for the top section of the
insulator. Once these have been drawn, the bottom section can be created by
simply copying the Porcelain Dielectric and Lower Electrode regions.

All dimensions are given in inches.

You may find it helpful to photocopy the above sketch so you


will not need to flip back to this page to refer to the dimensions
as you build the model.

71

72

3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Building the Model


Setting up the Desktop
For this model, we will make use of all the tool bars except for the Geometry
Inquire bar.
1) From the COULOMB program
Menu Bar select View>Tool
Bars.
2) This will open the Tool Bars
dialog box shown at right.
3) Change the check boxes in the
Show/Hide tab so that only the
Geometry Inquire bar is not
selected.
4) Click the [OK] button to apply the changes and close the box.
This is the first time that we have displayed the Geometry Creation tool bar,
which is shown below as it appears in 3D mode.

While it is possible to create geometry directly in 3D mode, you will most often
create surfaces on 2D planes and then extrude them into 3D.
When the program is operated in 2D Display mode, the Geometry Creation tool
bar changes so that it appears as shown below.

Sample Session 3

73

Setting the Model Units


The only change we will make to the default units will be to set the length units to
inches. Do this by changing the Length Unit list box to in the Utilities tool bar so
that it displays in as shown below.

Setting the View Limits


We will set the origin of our model space to coincide with the center point of the
bottom surface of the middle plate (the Lower Electrode in the dimension sketch).

1)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Utilities>View Setup.

2)

The View Setup dialog box will open.

3)

Change the X, Y limits so that the Minimum


and Maximum settings are 7 and 7, but
change the Z limits to 9 and 11.

4)

Click the [Apply] button.

5)

Verify that your settings are as shown at


right.

6)

Click the [OK] button to close the box.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Creating the Model Geometry


The cross-sections of the rounded outer surfaces of the porcelain dielectric are
circular arcs, so we will begin by constructing a circle in the X=0 plane.
29)

On the Utilities tool bar, click the [Plane Selection] speed button.

30)

The Plane Manager dialog box will


open.

31)

In the Planes column, Left-click the


X selection so that it is highlighted as
shown at right.

32)

Verify that the 2D Display radio


button is selected.

33)

Click the [OK] button to apply the


setting and close the box.

34)

The COULOMB program window will


change to 2D viewing mode.

7)

On the Geometry Creation tool bar, click the [Circle (Center, Radius)]
speed button.

8)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter center of
circle.

9)

Type 5.575, 1.5 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

10)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the radius.

11)

Type 0.825 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

12)

A circle will be drawn in the Workspace, and the Command Line will
prompt for the center of a new circle.

13)

Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.

Sample Session 3
14)

75

The Message Area will show that there are 2 points, 1 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups. The Command Line will simply show the prompt
Command to indicate that the program is waiting for a command to be
activated.

Next, we will break the circle into four 90-degree arcs


(shown numbered 1-4 above).
After the circle has been broken, we will leave arc
number 4 in its original position, but we will move the
other arcs into the pattern shown at right.

1)

On the Utilities Tool Bar, set the Geometry Selection Type box so that it
displays Segment, and set the Geometry Copy Switch to Copy Off.

2)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Modify>Break Segment>Break


By Number.

3)

The Command Line will show the prompt Break by number: Select
segments.

4)

Left-click on the circle to select it (it will then become highlighted in light
green), and then Right-click to end the selection process.

5)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the desired number of
divisions.

6)

Type 4 and press <Enter> once to break the circle, and then press
<Enter> a second time to end the command.

7)

The circle will be broken into four 90-degree arcs, and the Message Area
will show that there are 8 points, 4 segments, 1 regions, 0 groups.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

8)

Click the [Increase Dot Size] speed button on the


Utilities tool bar until the arc dots are large
enough that they can be easily selected with your
mouse pointer.

9)

On the Modify tool bar, click the


[Displace Geometry] speed button.

10)

The Command Line will show the prompt Displace geometry: Select
segments.

11)

Select the two right-hand arcs then Right-click to end the selection
process.

12)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter


a reference point.

13)

Move the cross hairs of your mouse pointer into the


bottommost dot and Left-click to set it as the reference
point.

14)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter


its destination.

15)

Move your mouse pointer slowly up towards the topmost


dot. Note that the two arcs move with the pointer, and that
a rubber line is drawn from the reference point to the mouse
pointer.

16)

When your mouse pointer is located inside the topmost dot,


Left-click to set it as the destination point.

17)

Your geometry should appear as shown at right, and the


Command Line will again prompt Displace geometry:
Select segments, since the Displace command is still
active.

18)

Select the bottom left-hand arc then Right-click to end


the selection process.

19)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter


a reference point.

20)

Left-click the bottommost dot to set it as the reference


point.

21)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter


its destination.

22)

Move your mouse pointer into the (new) topmost dot and
Left-click to set it as the destination point.

Sample Session 3
23)

The Command Line will again prompt Displace geometry: Select


segments.

24)

Right-click to end the command.

25)

The Message Area will show that there are 9 points, 4 segments, 0
regions, 0 groups.

77

Creating the Lower Electrode


We could complete the outer boundary of the dielectric by copying the four arcs,
but it is more efficient to create the geometry for the lower electrode first. Then
we can copy both the arcs and the electrode in one step.
1)

On the Geometry Creation tool bar click the


[Rectangle] speed button.

2)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate


or enter one corner of rectangle.

3)

Move your mouse pointer into the bottom dot of the bottommost arc and
Left-click to set it as the first corner.

4)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter other corner
of rectangle.

5)

Pull your mouse pointer slightly down and to the


left of the dot. Note that the outline of a
rectangle is drawn from the dot to the mouse
pointer, and the uv location of the pointer is
displayed in the bottom right-hand corner of the
Status Bar as shown below.

6)

Type 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard to set
the second corner of the rectangle. (Note that it is easier to set the
second corner by keyboard entry than to try to locate the mouse pointer
precisely at (0,0). This is because we have not activated the Grid or
Snap options.)

7)

The rectangle command is still active, so the Command Line will again
prompt Locate or enter one corner of rectangle.

8)

Once again, Left-click the bottom dot of the bottommost arc to set it as
the first corner.

9)

Type 5.75, 0 and press <Enter> to set the second corner of the
rectangle

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide


10) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
11) The Message Area will show that there are 14 points, 11 segments, 2
regions, 0 groups.

The common segment shared by the two rectangles serves no function so we will
delete it before continuing. (Also, if we do not delete the segment, the electrode
will be composed of two volumes once we have performed the circular sweep.
This is unnecessary, and would make assigning boundary conditions more
complicated.)
1)

On the Modify tool bar click the [Delete segment]


speed button.

2)

The Command Line will show the prompt Delete:


Select segments.

3)

Left-click the shared segment, then Right-click to end the


selection process.

4)

The Command Line will show the prompt Right-click (or


Enter) to delete segments.

5)

Right-click once to delete the segment, and then Right-click a second


time to end the delete command.

6)

The Message Area will show that there are 14 points, 10 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups.

If you have followed the above steps


carefully, your geometry should appear
similar to the model shown at right.

Sample Session 3

79

When we created the second rectangle, its left-hand side


segment exactly coincided with the right-hand side segment of
the first rectangle. As a result, the two sides were
automatically merged into one segment.
This would not have occurred if the sides had been different in
length. We would then have had an overlapping segment
condition, which would lead to analysis errors.
To detect and correct this problem (which will often be found in
geometry imported from CAD packages) use the
Geometry>Healing>Overlapping Segments command to
locate and automatically break overlap situations.

The lower electrode is nearly complete; all that remains is to round the two
corners at its right-hand edge.
1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Modify>Round Corners.
2) The Command Line will show the prompt Round corners: Select
corners.
3) Left-click both dots on the right-most vertical line segment
and move your mouse pointer to a blank spot of the
workspace. Both dots should appear green as shown at
right.
4) Right-click to end the selection process.
5) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the rounding radius.
6) Type 0.25 and press <Enter>.
7) The corner will be rounded and the Command Line will again show the
prompt Round corners: Select corners.
8) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
9) The Message Area will show that there are 18 points, 12 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups.

Creating a Mirror Copy of the Geometry


Since the Upper Electrode is a mirror image of the Lower Electrode, and since
the top part of the dielectric boundary is a mirror image of the bottom part, we
can use the Mirror command to make copies of the geometry we have already
created.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide


1)

On the Utilities tool bar, change the


Geometry Selection Type setting to
Box, and change the Geometry Copy
Switch setting to Copy On.

2)

On the Modify tool bar Click the [Mirror


geometry] speed button.

3)

The Command Line will show the prompt


Mirror geometry: Select start corner of
box.

4)

Position your mouse pointer below


and to the left of the bottom lefthand corner of the Lower Electrode
and Left-click to set this as the first
corner of the box.

5)

The Command Line will show the


prompt Mirror geometry: Select
end corner.

6)

Move your mouse pointer up and to


the right. A rubber box will be drawn
along with the pointer as you move
it.

7)

When the rubber box is large enough to completely enclose all the
geometry, Left-click to fix the second corner of the box.

8)

The geometry will turn light green and the Command Line will prompt
Mirror geometry: Start new box (or right click to end selection) (this
is to allow you to create more box selections).

9)

Right-click to end the selection process.

10) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter first point of
mirror line.
11) Move your mouse pointer into the top dot of the topmost arc and Leftclick to set this as the first point of the mirror line.
12) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter end point of
mirror line.
13) Move your mouse pointer slightly to the left. A
rubber line will be drawn from the top arc point to
the mouse pointer (if this does not happen, hit the
<Esc> key on your keyboard and then restart the
Mirror command).
14) Type 0, y and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard to set
the end point of the mirror line (note that you type the number 0 and
not the letter o).

Sample Session 3

81

15) The geometry will be mirror copied, and the Command Line will again
prompt Mirror geometry: Select start corner of box since the Mirror
command is still active.
16) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
17) The Message Area will show that there are 35 points, 24 segments, 2
regions, 0 groups.

At this point, your geometry should appear similar


to the model shown at right.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

We can now complete the top section of the insulator by drawing a single line
segment.
1) On the Geometry Creation tool bar click the [Poly Line]
speed button.
2) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or
enter points.
3) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at the bottom lefthand corner of the Upper Electrode (labeled A in the
picture at right) and Left-click to start the line segment.
4) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at the top left-hand
corner of the Lower Electrode (labeled B at right) and
Left-click.
5) Right-click once to end the current poly line sequence,
and then Right-click a second time to end the Poly Line
command.
6) The Message Area will show that there are 35 points, 25
segments, 3 regions, 0 groups.

It is a good idea to save your model as Sample3, before proceeding.

Displacing and Copying the Dielectric and Lower Electrode


The surfaces for the bottom section of the insulator can be easily created by
copying geometry that we have already drawn for the top section.
1)

On the Utilities tool bar, change the Geometry


Selection Type to Region.

2)

On the Modify, tool bar click the [Displace


Geometry] speed button.

3)

The Command Line will show the prompt


Displace Geometry: Select regions.

Sample Session 3
4)

Select the Porcelain Dielectric and


Lower Electrode regions and then
Right-click to end the selection
process.

5)

The Command Line will show the


prompt Select or enter a reference
point.

6)

Move your mouse pointer into the dot at


the bottom left-hand corner of the
Upper Electrode (labeled as
Reference in the picture at right) and
Left-click to select it.

7)

The Command Line will show the


prompt Locate or enter its
destination.

8)

Move your mouse pointer slowly


downwards. Note that the dielectric and
electrode regions move with the pointer,
and that a rubber line is drawn from the
reference point to the pointer.

9)

Move your mouse pointer into the dot at


the bottom left-hand corner of the
Lower Electrode (labeled as
Destination in the picture at right) and
Left-click to select it.

83

10) Right-click to end the displace command.


11) The Message Area will show that there are 60 points, 42 segments, 5
regions, 0 groups.

Sweeping the Surfaces to Create Volumes


We will now complete the model geometry by switching back to 3D mode, and
then sweeping the surfaces about the Z-axis to create volumes.
1)

Click the [Plane Selection] speed button on


the Utilities tool bar to toggle back to 3D

display mode.
2)

The COULOMB program window will change back to 3D display mode


and the Message Area will show that there are 60 points, 42 segments,
5 surfaces, 0 volumes, 0 groups.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

3)

On the Geometry Operation tool bar, change the Sweep Setting to


Circular.

4)

Click the [Sweep Surface] speed button.

5)

The Command Line will show the prompt Sweep surface circular:
Select surfaces.

6)

Select all five surfaces, and then Right-click to end the selection process.

7)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter the starting
point of rotation axis.

8)

Type 0, 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

9)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter end point of
rotation axis.

10) Type 0, 0, 1 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
11) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter rotation angle (deg.).
12) Type 60 and press <Enter>.
13) After a few seconds, the surfaces will be extruded into volumes and The
Command Line will again prompt for a surface selection.
14) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
15) The Message Area will show that there are 146 points, 111 segments,
47 surfaces, 5 volumes, 0 groups.

Sample Session 3

Your completed geometry should appear similar to the


model shown at right.
You can now hide the Geometry Creation and
Geometry Operation tool bars, since we will not need
them again in this sample session.
At this point, it is a good idea to save your model before
proceeding.

Changing the View Characteristics


Assigning physical properties will be easier if we modify the
view characteristics of our model.
1) Use the cursor arrow keys on your computer keyboard
to rotate the model so that it is oriented approximately
as shown at right. (Review the procedure described in
the first sample session if you have forgotten how to
do this.)
2) Click the [Solid view] speed button on the Standard
View tool bar to produce a rendered view.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Assigning Physical Properties


Overview of Physical Properties
Having completed the model geometry, we are now ready to assign physical
properties to our model. This will require four operations:
In the Physics Global Setup dialog box, we will change the default
settings in order to perform an unbalanced charge mode analysis. (It will
be easier to explain the significance of this after analyzing the solved
model. For now, we will just instruct you on the required steps.)
In the Symmetry and Periodicity Setup dialog box, we will set the model
to be angular periodic about the Z axis. We will also need to select the
ten periodic boundary surfaces that truncate the model.
We will select Porcelain from the Material Table and assign this to the
two dielectric volumes.
We will assign Voltage boundary conditions to the top and bottom
electrodes. In addition, we will assign a Floating boundary condition to
the middle electrode.
At right, we have outlined the first four
selections from the Physics menu since they
will be used to assign the physical properties to
our model. We will assign the properties
according to the menu order.

Sample Session 3

87

Defining an Unbalanced Charge Mode Analysis Setting


To define an Unbalance Charge Mode Analysis setting for our model, follow
the steps below:
1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select
Physics>Physics Global Settings.
2) The Physics Global Setup dialog box
will open.
3) Clear the Balance Charge check box
so that your settings appear as shown
at right.
4) Click the [OK] button to apply the
changes and close the box.

Defining the Periodicity Settings


To define the Periodicity settings for our model, follow the steps below:
15)

Make sure the Geometry Selection


Type in the Utilities tool bar is set to
Surface.

16)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Symmetry and


Periodicity Setup.

17)

The Symmetry and Periodicity Setup dialog box will open.

18)

In the Periodicity area of the box, select the Angular Periodic radio
button, set the About Z axis list box to Periodic, and the Total Sections
in Full Model field to 6.

19)

In the Periodic Boundaries section of the box, click the [Assign] button.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

20)

The dialog box will become hidden to permit a full view of


the workspace and the Command Line will show the
prompt: Assign periodic boundary: Select surfaces.

21)

Select the ten cross-section surfaces and then Rightclick to end the selection process.

22)

The boundary surfaces will change color to yellow, and the


dialog box will reappear.

23)

Click the [OK] button to apply the settings and close the
box.

Assigning Material Properties to the Dielectric Regions


The two volumes that form the dielectric sections of the insulator will be filled with
Porcelain, which is a standard material already included in the Material Table.
1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar
select Physics>Material Table.
2) The Model Materials dialog box
will open, and all surfaces of the
model will change color to gray.
3) Scroll through the Materials list to
Porcelain and Left-click to select
it. Note that a small color swatch
appears in front of the material
name.
4) Click the [Assign] button.
5) The Command Line will show the prompt
Assign material: Select Volumes.
6) Left-click the two dielectric volumes and then
Right-click to end the selection process.
7) The dielectric volumes will change color to
purple.
8) Close the Model Materials dialog box by
clicking the [Close] button at its bottom righthand corner.
Before proceeding, use the cursor arrow keys on
your computer keyboard to rotate the model so that
it is oriented approximately as shown at right.

Sample Session 3

89

Assigning Boundary Conditions


As in the first sample session, our model requires boundary conditions to be
assigned to some surfaces (in addition to the periodic boundaries that have
already been assigned).
The surfaces that require boundary conditions are shown
in solid view at right. These are the non-periodic surfaces
of the three electrodes. The top electrode surfaces will
be set to a uniform voltage of 10kV, while the bottom
electrode surfaces will be set to 0 volts.
The surfaces of the middle electrode will be assigned as
a floating conductor. This assignment will cause the
solver to maintain the same potential on all the required
electrode surfaces. We do not know in advance, what this
potential will be, but during the solution, COULOMB will
calculate the proper value.
By using Volume selection, we will be able to select all the
surfaces of a particular electrode in one step. This would
normally select the flat edge surfaces as well, but since
they have already been assigned as periodic, they will not
be affected.

Note; At this point save your model before proceeding!

1)

Make sure that the Geometry Selection


Type in the Utilities tool bar is set to
Volume.

2)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Boundary


Conditions>Floating. (Note that the surfaces earlier assigned a periodic
condition display in yellow.)

3)

The Command Line will show the prompt Assign floating: Select
volumes.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

4)

Move your mouse pointer onto the middle electrode volume. When the
volume turns orange Left-click to select it and then move your mouse
pointer to a blank section of the workspace.

5)

The middle electrode should appear light-green to show it has been


selected. Right-click to end the selection process.

6)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter floating potential
number.

7)

Type 1 and press <Enter>.

8)

The flat periodic surfaces of the middle electrode will remain yellow, but
the outer curved surfaces will turn blue to show that the floating condition
has been assigned. The Command Line will show the prompt Assign
floating: Select volumes.

9)

Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.

10) Select Physics>Boundary Conditions>Voltage (Uniform).


11) The Command Line will show the prompt Assign uniform voltage:
Select volumes.
12) Left-click on the top electrode volume to select it and then Right-click to
end the selection process.
13) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the voltage [V].
14) Type 10000 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
(Note: Do Not type commas in numbers (such as 10,000) since the
program will only recognize the leading digits before a comma.)
15) The non-periodic surfaces of the electrode will turn purple to show that the
voltage condition has been assigned, and the Command Line will show
the prompt Assign constant voltage: Select volumes.
16) Left-click on the bottom electrode volume to select it and then Rightclick to end the selection.
17) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the voltage[V].
18) Type 0 and press <Enter>, once to assign the voltage, then press
<Enter> again to end the command.

Sample Session 3

91

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to rotate the model so


you can examine the coloring of all exterior surfaces. You
should see yellow shading only on the cross-section
surfaces; the top and bottom electrode surfaces should be
purple; and the middle electrode surfaces should be blue.
All other surfaces should be gray, since no boundary
conditions are assigned to them.
If you have made a mistake, reopen your last saved model
and repeat the steps in this section taking special care to
follow the selection instructions exactly.
This completes the assignment of physical properties. We
are now read to discretize the model and generate a
solution.

Generating the Field Solution


Generating the Element Mesh
We will again use the BEM solver to generate the field solution. As discussed in
the first sample session, only 2D elements will be needed, and we will use
triangular elements since these can be applied to all types of surfaces. We will
let COULOMB assign the elements automatically.
1) On the Standard
View tool bar, click
the [Hidden lines
view] speed
button.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

2) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Solution>2D Triangular
Elements>Automatic All.
3) The Command Line will show the prompt
Enter approximate number of triangles
in total.
4) Type 1000 and press <Enter>.
5) After a few seconds, COULOMB will assign
a mesh and report the total number of
elements in the Message Area.
If you have built your model correctly, your
element distribution should be similar to that
shown at right.

Solving the Model


Depending on the speed of your computer, this model may take a few minutes or
more to solve.
1) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select
Solution>Solve.
2) When the solution is completed, the
Field Analysis Result dialog box will
open.
At this point, save your model again.

Sample Session 3

93

Analyzing the Solved Model


Creating a Voltage Graph
We will create a graph of the Voltage along the axis of the insulator.
1) Set the View Type to Voltage and the
Display Form to Graphs.
2) Select Graph Along Line.
3) Click the [New Graph] button.
4) The Field Analysis Result dialog box will
become hidden, and the Command Line
will show the prompt Locate or enter the
start point of the line.
5) Type 0, 0, 9.6 and press <Enter>.
6) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter the end point
of the line.
7) Type 0, 0, -8.1 and press <Enter>.
8) COULOMB will begin calculating the graph points.

When the calculations


are completed, an
AutoGraph window will
open.
Note that the plot starts
at a value of 10000 and
ends with a relatively
small value close to zero.
Note also that there are
three sections showing
constant voltage. These
correspond to the three
electrode regions.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Comments on Solution Results


If you examine the middle portion of the AutoGraph plot (corresponding to the
voltage on the floating conductor), you might be surprised to discover that the
middle electrode floated to a potential lower than 5000 V. Because of the
symmetrical nature of the insulator, you might expect that exactly half of the
10000 V potential difference between the top and bottom electrodes would be
dropped on the upper section of the insulator with the other half dropping on the
lower section, thus resulting in the middle electrode floating at 5000 V.
In addition, if you were to plot voltage
contours on a plane cutting through
and parallel to the axis of the
insulator, you would see an
asymmetrical distribution similar to the
plot shown at right.
Note that the voltage contours are
crowded more densely around the top
high voltage electrode than around
the bottom grounded electrode.
The reason that the results are
asymmetrical is that we solved the
model as unbalanced charge, which
means that COULOMB does not
force the net charge summed over all
surfaces to be zero.

Sample Session 3

If instead we had solved the model as


balanced, the voltage contour plot
would be completely symmetrical (as
shown at right), and the middle
electrode would then float to a
potential of exactly 5000 V. However,
a consequence of this type of analysis
is that it requires that the potential at
infinity must be 5000 V as well.
This is not a realistic requirement
since the insulator must be located at
some finite distance from the earths
surface which is at zero volts.

If we were to include a large ground plane


in our model space (as shown at right), the
results of the balanced mode analysis
would become similar to our original
unbalanced mode analysis.
This can be seen by examining the voltage
contours near the insulator and comparing
them to the original unbalanced contours.
Note that a similar crowding of contour
lines around the high voltage electrode
occurs in both cases.
The advantage of using the unbalanced
mode is that we did not have to create
some arbitrarily large ground plane that
would have complicated the model, and
resulted in a longer solution time.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

In the first sample session, we did not have to worry about the
Balanced setting because the capacitor disks were at equal
but opposite potentials. In such cases, the voltage at infinity
would be zero regardless of the type of analysis mode.

If there were other grounded structures in close proximity to


our insulator, we would have needed to include them in the
model in order to produce an accurate solution.
When constructing models, a certain amount of engineering
judgment must be used to determine which physical features
are important and which can be omitted.

Conclusion
We hope that this manual has given you a basic understanding of the procedures
for building and analyzing COULOMB models.
It is quite likely that your own models will be significantly different from those you
built in the sample sessions, and that you will require some assistance the first
time you attempt your own simulations. Please feel free to contact our technical
support staff for advice regarding your particular application.

Sample Session 3

97

SAMPLE SESSION 3: HIGH VOLTAGE INSULATOR


Model Description
We will model an elementary High Voltage Insulator unit to illustrate the
application of floating conductors, and the concept of unbalanced mode
analysis.
The insulator consists of five components: three identical conductive plates (also
called electrodes), and two identical porcelain dielectric sections.
The picture at right shows a
cutaway view of the insulator.
The two sections of porcelain
dielectric are stacked one on
top of the other with a plate inbetween them that joins them
together. The plate at the top of
the upper porcelain section is at
a potential of 10 kV and the
plate at the bottom of the lower
porcelain section is grounded.
The exposed surfaces in the
cutaway view are overlaid with
a color contour voltage plot. On
the top plate, these surfaces
show dark red shading
indicating the 10 kV potential,
while the bottom plate surfaces
are dark blue corresponding to
the ground potential. The
middle plate (that connects the
two porcelain sections) floats to
an intermediate potential as
indicated by the blue-green
shading on its exposed
surfaces.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

As is in the first sample session, we will use the


angular periodic nature of the insulator to reduce the
model to a single 60-degree section as shown at right.
We will create the axial cross-section surfaces for the
model (shown shaded at right) in the X=0 plane, and
then perform a circular sweep of these surfaces about
the Z-axis to create the plate and dielectric volumes.
Because the insulator is constructed from three
identical plates and two identical dielectric sections,
we will only need to create a few basic parts of the
geometry which we can then copy to create the full
model.

This sample session builds on the skills that you acquired from
the first sample session. If you have not completed the first
sample session, please do so now before proceeding.

Sample Session 3
Model Dimensions
The sketch below shows the cross-section surfaces for the top section of the
insulator. Once these have been drawn, the bottom section can be created by
simply copying the Porcelain Dielectric and Lower Electrode regions.

All dimensions are given in inches.

You may find it helpful to photocopy the above sketch so you


will not need to flip back to this page to refer to the dimensions
as you build the model.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Building the Model


Setting up the Desktop
For this model, we will make use of all the tool bars except for the Geometry
Inquire bar.
5) From the COULOMB program
Menu Bar select View>Tool
Bars.
6) This will open the Tool Bars
dialog box shown at right.
7) Change the check boxes in the
Show/Hide tab so that only the
Geometry Inquire bar is not
selected.
8) Click the [OK] button to apply the changes and close the box.
This is the first time that we have displayed the Geometry Creation tool bar,
which is shown below as it appears in 3D mode.

While it is possible to create geometry directly in 3D mode, you will most often
create surfaces on 2D planes and then extrude them into 3D.
When the program is operated in 2D Display mode, the Geometry Creation tool
bar changes so that it appears as shown below.

Sample Session 3

101

Setting the Model Units


The only change we will make to the default units will be to set the length units to
inches. Do this by changing the Length Unit list box to in the Utilities tool bar so
that it displays in as shown below.

Setting the View Limits


We will set the origin of our model space to coincide with the center point of the
bottom surface of the middle plate (the Lower Electrode in the dimension sketch).

15)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Utilities>View Setup.

16)

The View Setup dialog box will open.

17)

Change the X, Y limits so that the Minimum


and Maximum settings are 7 and 7, but
change the Z limits to 9 and 11.

18)

Click the [Apply] button.

19)

Verify that your settings are as shown at


right.

20)

Click the [OK] button to close the box.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Creating the Model Geometry


The cross-sections of the rounded outer surfaces of the porcelain dielectric are
circular arcs, so we will begin by constructing a circle in the X=0 plane.
35)

On the Utilities tool bar, click the [Plane Selection] speed button.

36)

The Plane Manager dialog box will


open.

37)

In the Planes column, Left-click the


X selection so that it is highlighted as
shown at right.

38)

Verify that the 2D Display radio


button is selected.

39)

Click the [OK] button to apply the


setting and close the box.

40)

The COULOMB program window will


change to 2D viewing mode.

21)

On the Geometry Creation tool bar, click the [Circle (Center, Radius)]
speed button.

22)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter center of
circle.

23)

Type 5.575, 1.5 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

24)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the radius.

25)

Type 0.825 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.

26)

A circle will be drawn in the Workspace, and the Command Line will
prompt for the center of a new circle.

27)

Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.

Sample Session 3
28)

103

The Message Area will show that there are 2 points, 1 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups. The Command Line will simply show the prompt
Command to indicate that the program is waiting for a command to be
activated.

Next, we will break the circle into four 90-degree arcs


(shown numbered 1-4 above).
After the circle has been broken, we will leave arc
number 4 in its original position, but we will move the
other arcs into the pattern shown at right.

26)

On the Utilities Tool Bar, set the Geometry Selection Type box so that it
displays Segment, and set the Geometry Copy Switch to Copy Off.

27)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Modify>Break Segment>Break


By Number.

28)

The Command Line will show the prompt Break by number: Select
segments.

29)

Left-click on the circle to select it (it will then become highlighted in light
green), and then Right-click to end the selection process.

30)

The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the desired number of
divisions.

31)

Type 4 and press <Enter> once to break the circle, and then press
<Enter> a second time to end the command.

32)

The circle will be broken into four 90-degree arcs, and the Message Area
will show that there are 8 points, 4 segments, 1 regions, 0 groups.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

33)

Click the [Increase Dot Size] speed button on the


Utilities tool bar until the arc dots are large
enough that they can be easily selected with your
mouse pointer.

34)

On the Modify tool bar, click the


[Displace Geometry] speed button.

35)

The Command Line will show the prompt Displace geometry: Select
segments.

36)

Select the two right-hand arcs then Right-click to end the selection
process.

37)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter


a reference point.

38)

Move the cross hairs of your mouse pointer into the


bottommost dot and Left-click to set it as the reference
point.

39)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter


its destination.

40)

Move your mouse pointer slowly up towards the topmost


dot. Note that the two arcs move with the pointer, and that
a rubber line is drawn from the reference point to the mouse
pointer.

41)

When your mouse pointer is located inside the topmost dot,


Left-click to set it as the destination point.

42)

Your geometry should appear as shown at right, and the


Command Line will again prompt Displace geometry:
Select segments, since the Displace command is still
active.

43)

Select the bottom left-hand arc then Right-click to end


the selection process.

44)

The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter


a reference point.

45)

Left-click the bottommost dot to set it as the reference


point.

46)

The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter


its destination.

47)

Move your mouse pointer into the (new) topmost dot and
Left-click to set it as the destination point.

Sample Session 3
48)

The Command Line will again prompt Displace geometry: Select


segments.

49)

Right-click to end the command.

50)

The Message Area will show that there are 9 points, 4 segments, 0
regions, 0 groups.

105

Creating the Lower Electrode


We could complete the outer boundary of the dielectric by copying the four arcs,
but it is more efficient to create the geometry for the lower electrode first. Then
we can copy both the arcs and the electrode in one step.
12) On the Geometry Creation tool bar click the
[Rectangle] speed button.
13) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate
or enter one corner of rectangle.
14) Move your mouse pointer into the bottom dot of the bottommost arc and
Left-click to set it as the first corner.
15) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter other corner
of rectangle.
16) Pull your mouse pointer slightly down and to the
left of the dot. Note that the outline of a
rectangle is drawn from the dot to the mouse
pointer, and the uv location of the pointer is
displayed in the bottom right-hand corner of the
Status Bar as shown below.

17) Type 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard to set
the second corner of the rectangle. (Note that it is easier to set the
second corner by keyboard entry than to try to locate the mouse pointer
precisely at (0,0). This is because we have not activated the Grid or
Snap options.)
18) The rectangle command is still active, so the Command Line will again
prompt Locate or enter one corner of rectangle.
19) Once again, Left-click the bottom dot of the bottommost arc to set it as
the first corner.
20) Type 5.75, 0 and press <Enter> to set the second corner of the
rectangle

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

21) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
22) The Message Area will show that there are 14 points, 11 segments, 2
regions, 0 groups.
The common segment shared by the two rectangles serves no function so we will
delete it before continuing. (Also, if we do not delete the segment, the electrode
will be composed of two volumes once we have performed the circular sweep.
This is unnecessary, and would make assigning boundary conditions more
complicated.)
7)

On the Modify tool bar click the [Delete segment]


speed button.

8)

The Command Line will show the prompt Delete:


Select segments.

9)

Left-click the shared segment, then Right-click to end the


selection process.

10)

The Command Line will show the prompt Right-click (or


Enter) to delete segments.

11)

Right-click once to delete the segment, and then Right-click a second


time to end the delete command.

12)

The Message Area will show that there are 14 points, 10 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups.

If you have followed the above steps


carefully, your geometry should appear
similar to the model shown at right.

Sample Session 3

107

When we created the second rectangle, its left-hand side


segment exactly coincided with the right-hand side segment of
the first rectangle. As a result, the two sides were
automatically merged into one segment.
This would not have occurred if the sides had been different in
length. We would then have had an overlapping segment
condition, which would lead to analysis errors.
To detect and correct this problem (which will often be found in
geometry imported from CAD packages) use the
Geometry>Healing>Overlapping Segments command to
locate and automatically break overlap situations.

The lower electrode is nearly complete; all that remains is to round the two
corners at its right-hand edge.
10) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Modify>Round Corners.
11) The Command Line will show the prompt Round corners: Select
corners.
12) Left-click both dots on the right-most vertical line segment
and move your mouse pointer to a blank spot of the
workspace. Both dots should appear green as shown at
right.
13) Right-click to end the selection process.
14) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the rounding radius.
15) Type 0.25 and press <Enter>.
16) The corner will be rounded and the Command Line will again show the
prompt Round corners: Select corners.
17) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
18) The Message Area will show that there are 18 points, 12 segments, 1
regions, 0 groups.

Creating a Mirror Copy of the Geometry


Since the Upper Electrode is a mirror image of the Lower Electrode, and since
the top part of the dielectric boundary is a mirror image of the bottom part, we
can use the Mirror command to make copies of the geometry we have already
created.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

18) On the Utilities tool bar, change the


Geometry Selection Type setting to
Box, and change the Geometry Copy
Switch setting to Copy On.
19) On the Modify tool bar Click the [Mirror
geometry] speed button.
20) The Command Line will show the prompt
Mirror geometry: Select start corner of
box.
21) Position your mouse pointer below
and to the left of the bottom lefthand corner of the Lower Electrode
and Left-click to set this as the first
corner of the box.
22) The Command Line will show the
prompt Mirror geometry: Select
end corner.
23) Move your mouse pointer up and to
the right. A rubber box will be drawn
along with the pointer as you move
it.
24) When the rubber box is large enough to completely enclose all the
geometry, Left-click to fix the second corner of the box.
25) The geometry will turn light green and the Command Line will prompt
Mirror geometry: Start new box (or right click to end selection) (this
is to allow you to create more box selections).
26) Right-click to end the selection process.
27) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter first point of
mirror line.
28) Move your mouse pointer into the top dot of the topmost arc and Leftclick to set this as the first point of the mirror line.
29) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter end point of
mirror line.
30) Move your mouse pointer slightly to the left. A
rubber line will be drawn from the top arc point to
the mouse pointer (if this does not happen, hit the
<Esc> key on your keyboard and then restart the
Mirror command).
31) Type 0, y and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard to set
the end point of the mirror line (note that you type the number 0 and
not the letter o).

Sample Session 3

109

32) The geometry will be mirror copied, and the Command Line will again
prompt Mirror geometry: Select start corner of box since the Mirror
command is still active.
33) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
34) The Message Area will show that there are 35 points, 24 segments, 2
regions, 0 groups.

At this point, your geometry should appear similar


to the model shown at right.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

We can now complete the top section of the insulator by drawing a single line
segment.
7) On the Geometry Creation tool bar click the [Poly Line]
speed button.
8) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or
enter points.
9) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at the bottom lefthand corner of the Upper Electrode (labeled A in the
picture at right) and Left-click to start the line segment.
10) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at the top left-hand
corner of the Lower Electrode (labeled B at right) and
Left-click.
11) Right-click once to end the current poly line sequence,
and then Right-click a second time to end the Poly Line
command.
12) The Message Area will show that there are 35 points, 25
segments, 3 regions, 0 groups.

It is a good idea to save your model as Sample3, before proceeding.

Displacing and Copying the Dielectric and Lower Electrode


The surfaces for the bottom section of the insulator can be easily created by
copying geometry that we have already drawn for the top section.
12) On the Utilities tool bar, change the Geometry
Selection Type to Region.
13) On the Modify, tool bar click the [Displace
Geometry] speed button.
14) The Command Line will show the prompt
Displace Geometry: Select regions.

Sample Session 3

111

15) Select the Porcelain Dielectric and


Lower Electrode regions and then
Right-click to end the selection
process.
16) The Command Line will show the
prompt Select or enter a reference
point.
17) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at
the bottom left-hand corner of the
Upper Electrode (labeled as
Reference in the picture at right) and
Left-click to select it.
18) The Command Line will show the
prompt Locate or enter its
destination.
19) Move your mouse pointer slowly
downwards. Note that the dielectric and
electrode regions move with the pointer,
and that a rubber line is drawn from the
reference point to the pointer.
20) Move your mouse pointer into the dot at
the bottom left-hand corner of the
Lower Electrode (labeled as
Destination in the picture at right) and
Left-click to select it.
21) Right-click to end the displace command.
22) The Message Area will show that there are 60 points, 42 segments, 5
regions, 0 groups.

Sweeping the Surfaces to Create Volumes


We will now complete the model geometry by switching back to 3D mode, and
then sweeping the surfaces about the Z-axis to create volumes.
16) Click the [Plane Selection] speed button on
the Utilities tool bar to toggle back to 3D

display mode.
17) The COULOMB program window will change back to 3D display mode
and the Message Area will show that there are 60 points, 42 segments,
5 surfaces, 0 volumes, 0 groups.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

18) On the Geometry Operation tool bar, change the Sweep Setting to
Circular.

19) Click the [Sweep Surface] speed button.


20) The Command Line will show the prompt Sweep surface circular:
Select surfaces.
21) Select all five surfaces, and then Right-click to end the selection process.
22) The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter the starting
point of rotation axis.
23) Type 0, 0, 0 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
24) The Command Line will show the prompt Select or enter end point of
rotation axis.
25) Type 0, 0, 1 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
26) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter rotation angle (deg.).
27) Type 60 and press <Enter>.
28) After a few seconds, the surfaces will be extruded into volumes and The
Command Line will again prompt for a surface selection.
29) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
30) The Message Area will show that there are 146 points, 111 segments,
47 surfaces, 5 volumes, 0 groups.

Sample Session 3

Your completed geometry should appear similar to the


model shown at right.
You can now hide the Geometry Creation and
Geometry Operation tool bars, since we will not need
them again in this sample session.
At this point, it is a good idea to save your model before
proceeding.

Changing the View Characteristics


Assigning physical properties will be easier if we modify the
view characteristics of our model.
3) Use the cursor arrow keys on your computer keyboard
to rotate the model so that it is oriented approximately
as shown at right. (Review the procedure described in
the first sample session if you have forgotten how to
do this.)
4) Click the [Solid view] speed button on the Standard
View tool bar to produce a rendered view.

113

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Assigning Physical Properties


Overview of Physical Properties
Having completed the model geometry, we are now ready to assign physical
properties to our model. This will require four operations:
In the Physics Global Setup dialog box, we will change the default
settings in order to perform an unbalanced charge mode analysis. (It will
be easier to explain the significance of this after analyzing the solved
model. For now, we will just instruct you on the required steps.)
In the Symmetry and Periodicity Setup dialog box, we will set the model
to be angular periodic about the Z axis. We will also need to select the
ten periodic boundary surfaces that truncate the model.
We will select Porcelain from the Material Table and assign this to the
two dielectric volumes.
We will assign Voltage boundary conditions to the top and bottom
electrodes. In addition, we will assign a Floating boundary condition to
the middle electrode.
At right, we have outlined the first four
selections from the Physics menu since they
will be used to assign the physical properties to
our model. We will assign the properties
according to the menu order.

Sample Session 3

115

Defining an Unbalanced Charge Mode Analysis Setting


To define an Unbalance Charge Mode Analysis setting for our model, follow
the steps below:
5) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select
Physics>Physics Global Settings.
6) The Physics Global Setup dialog box
will open.
7) Clear the Balance Charge check box
so that your settings appear as shown
at right.
8) Click the [OK] button to apply the
changes and close the box.

Defining the Periodicity Settings


To define the Periodicity settings for our model, follow the steps below:
24)

Make sure the Geometry Selection


Type in the Utilities tool bar is set to
Surface.

25)

From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Symmetry and


Periodicity Setup.

26)

The Symmetry and Periodicity Setup dialog box will open.

27)

In the Periodicity area of the box, select the Angular Periodic radio
button, set the About Z axis list box to Periodic, and the Total Sections
in Full Model field to 6.

28)

In the Periodic Boundaries section of the box, click the [Assign] button.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

29)

The dialog box will become hidden to permit a full view of


the workspace and the Command Line will show the
prompt: Assign periodic boundary: Select surfaces.

30)

Select the ten cross-section surfaces and then Rightclick to end the selection process.

31)

The boundary surfaces will change color to yellow, and the


dialog box will reappear.

32)

Click the [OK] button to apply the settings and close the
box.

Assigning Material Properties to the Dielectric Regions


The two volumes that form the dielectric sections of the insulator will be filled with
Porcelain, which is a standard material already included in the Material Table.
9) From the COULOMB Menu Bar
select Physics>Material Table.
10) The Model Materials dialog box
will open, and all surfaces of the
model will change color to gray.
11) Scroll through the Materials list to
Porcelain and Left-click to select
it. Note that a small color swatch
appears in front of the material
name.
12) Click the [Assign] button.
13) The Command Line will show the prompt
Assign material: Select Volumes.
14) Left-click the two dielectric volumes and then
Right-click to end the selection process.
15) The dielectric volumes will change color to
purple.
16) Close the Model Materials dialog box by
clicking the [Close] button at its bottom righthand corner.
Before proceeding, use the cursor arrow keys on
your computer keyboard to rotate the model so that
it is oriented approximately as shown at right.

Sample Session 3

117

Assigning Boundary Conditions


As in the first sample session, our model requires boundary conditions to be
assigned to some surfaces (in addition to the periodic boundaries that have
already been assigned).
The surfaces that require boundary conditions are shown
in solid view at right. These are the non-periodic surfaces
of the three electrodes. The top electrode surfaces will
be set to a uniform voltage of 10kV, while the bottom
electrode surfaces will be set to 0 volts.
The surfaces of the middle electrode will be assigned as
a floating conductor. This assignment will cause the
solver to maintain the same potential on all the required
electrode surfaces. We do not know in advance, what this
potential will be, but during the solution, COULOMB will
calculate the proper value.
By using Volume selection, we will be able to select all the
surfaces of a particular electrode in one step. This would
normally select the flat edge surfaces as well, but since
they have already been assigned as periodic, they will not
be affected.

Note; At this point save your model before proceeding!

19) Make sure that the Geometry Selection


Type in the Utilities tool bar is set to
Volume.
20) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select Physics>Boundary
Conditions>Floating. (Note that the surfaces earlier assigned a periodic
condition display in yellow.)
21) The Command Line will show the prompt Assign floating: Select
volumes.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

22) Move your mouse pointer onto the middle electrode volume. When the
volume turns orange Left-click to select it and then move your mouse
pointer to a blank section of the workspace.
23) The middle electrode should appear light-green to show it has been
selected. Right-click to end the selection process.
24) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter floating potential
number.
25) Type 1 and press <Enter>.
26) The flat periodic surfaces of the middle electrode will remain yellow, but
the outer curved surfaces will turn blue to show that the floating condition
has been assigned. The Command Line will show the prompt Assign
floating: Select volumes.
27) Press the <Enter> key on your keyboard to end the command.
28) Select Physics>Boundary Conditions>Voltage (Uniform).
29) The Command Line will show the prompt Assign uniform voltage:
Select volumes.
30) Left-click on the top electrode volume to select it and then Right-click to
end the selection process.
31) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the voltage [V].
32) Type 10000 and press the <Enter> key on your computer keyboard.
(Note: Do Not type commas in numbers (such as 10,000) since the
program will only recognize the leading digits before a comma.)
33) The non-periodic surfaces of the electrode will turn purple to show that the
voltage condition has been assigned, and the Command Line will show
the prompt Assign constant voltage: Select volumes.
34) Left-click on the bottom electrode volume to select it and then Rightclick to end the selection.
35) The Command Line will show the prompt Enter the voltage[V].
36) Type 0 and press <Enter>, once to assign the voltage, then press
<Enter> again to end the command.

Sample Session 3

119

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to rotate the model so


you can examine the coloring of all exterior surfaces. You
should see yellow shading only on the cross-section
surfaces; the top and bottom electrode surfaces should be
purple; and the middle electrode surfaces should be blue.
All other surfaces should be gray, since no boundary
conditions are assigned to them.
If you have made a mistake, reopen your last saved model
and repeat the steps in this section taking special care to
follow the selection instructions exactly.
This completes the assignment of physical properties. We
are now read to discretize the model and generate a
solution.

Generating the Field Solution


Generating the Element Mesh
We will again use the BEM solver to generate the field solution. As discussed in
the first sample session, only 2D elements will be needed, and we will use
triangular elements since these can be applied to all types of surfaces. We will
let COULOMB assign the elements automatically.
6) On the Standard
View tool bar, click
the [Hidden lines
view] speed
button.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

7) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select


Solution>2D Triangular
Elements>Automatic All.
8) The Command Line will show the prompt
Enter approximate number of triangles
in total.
9) Type 1000 and press <Enter>.
10) After a few seconds, COULOMB will
assign a mesh and report the total number
of elements in the Message Area.
If you have built your model correctly, your
element distribution should be similar to that
shown at right.

Solving the Model


Depending on the speed of your computer, this model may take a few minutes or
more to solve.
3) From the COULOMB Menu Bar select
Solution>Solve.
4) When the solution is completed, the
Field Analysis Result dialog box will
open.
At this point, save your model again.

Sample Session 3

121

Analyzing the Solved Model


Creating a Voltage Graph
We will create a graph of the Voltage along the axis of the insulator.
9) Set the View Type to Voltage and the
Display Form to Graphs.
10) Select Graph Along Line.
11) Click the [New Graph] button.
12) The Field Analysis Result dialog box will
become hidden, and the Command Line
will show the prompt Locate or enter the
start point of the line.
13) Type 0, 0, 9.6 and press <Enter>.
14) The Command Line will show the prompt Locate or enter the end point
of the line.
15) Type 0, 0, -8.1 and press <Enter>.
16) COULOMB will begin calculating the graph points.

When the calculations


are completed, an
AutoGraph window will
open.
Note that the plot starts
at a value of 10000 and
ends with a relatively
small value close to zero.
Note also that there are
three sections showing
constant voltage. These
correspond to the three
electrode regions.

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

Comments on Solution Results


If you examine the middle portion of the AutoGraph plot (corresponding to the
voltage on the floating conductor), you might be surprised to discover that the
middle electrode floated to a potential lower than 5000 V. Because of the
symmetrical nature of the insulator, you might expect that exactly half of the
10000 V potential difference between the top and bottom electrodes would be
dropped on the upper section of the insulator with the other half dropping on the
lower section, thus resulting in the middle electrode floating at 5000 V.
In addition, if you were to plot voltage
contours on a plane cutting through
and parallel to the axis of the
insulator, you would see an
asymmetrical distribution similar to the
plot shown at right.
Note that the voltage contours are
crowded more densely around the top
high voltage electrode than around
the bottom grounded electrode.
The reason that the results are
asymmetrical is that we solved the
model as unbalanced charge, which
means that COULOMB does not
force the net charge summed over all
surfaces to be zero.

Sample Session 3

If instead we had solved the model as


balanced, the voltage contour plot
would be completely symmetrical (as
shown at right), and the middle
electrode would then float to a
potential of exactly 5000 V. However,
a consequence of this type of analysis
is that it requires that the potential at
infinity must be 5000 V as well.
This is not a realistic requirement
since the insulator must be located at
some finite distance from the earths
surface which is at zero volts.

If we were to include a large ground plane


in our model space (as shown at right), the
results of the balanced mode analysis
would become similar to our original
unbalanced mode analysis.
This can be seen by examining the voltage
contours near the insulator and comparing
them to the original unbalanced contours.
Note that a similar crowding of contour
lines around the high voltage electrode
occurs in both cases.
The advantage of using the unbalanced
mode is that we did not have to create
some arbitrarily large ground plane that
would have complicated the model, and
resulted in a longer solution time.

123

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

In the first sample session, we did not have to worry about the
Balanced setting because the capacitor disks were at equal
but opposite potentials. In such cases, the voltage at infinity
would be zero regardless of the type of analysis mode.

If there were other grounded structures in close proximity to


our insulator, we would have needed to include them in the
model in order to produce an accurate solution.
When constructing models, a certain amount of engineering
judgment must be used to determine which physical features
are important and which can be omitted.

Conclusion
We hope that this manual has given you a basic understanding of the procedures
for building and analyzing COULOMB models.
It is quite likely that your own models will be significantly different from those you
built in the sample sessions, and that you will require some assistance the first
time you attempt your own simulations. Please feel free to contact our technical
support staff for advice regarding your particular application.

125

COULOMB
You have now completed the COULOMB Quick Start Guide. You
should now be familiar with COULOMBs basic procedures and
features. As you proceed to build your own models you can locate
help in these sources:
From the Help menu you can find the 3D General Guide and the
COULOMB Help, and the Keyboard template (for a list of
keyboard shortcuts).
There are some general geometry construction examples in the
3D General Guide, Chapter 8
There are more magnetic examples in the COULOMB Help,
Chapter 6. These are also written for instruction but are less
detailed than the Quick Start Guide as you are assumed to have
basic familiarity with COULOMB beforehand.
There are some sample files provided in your program home
directory. Typically this is
C:\Program Files\IES\Coulomb V80\Databases
The INTEGRATED website at www.integratedsoft.com has a
Support tab with useful features. Notably:
o
A technical FAQ addressing common technical questions
o
Some free online tools for tasks such as making up making up
magnetic materials from minimal information, and estimating
skin depth.
o
Demonstration videos
Evaluators or customers with current maintenance contracts please
contact us at support@integratedsoft.com or call (204) 632-5636 if
you require any help.

Index

127

INDEX
2
2D Geometry Mode
starting models, 13
toggling between modes, 13

M
Menu Bar, 8
Message Area, 9
resizing, 10

A
analysis options
contour plots, 47, 64
force calculations, 62
graphs, 50

O
Orientation Indicator, 9

P
B

boundary conditions
voltage, 37

C
Command Bar, 9
Command Line, 9
commands
fundamental concepts, 16

D
dialog boxes
Field Analysis Result, 45, 47, 49, 50, 62, 63
Graph Plot (Parametrics), 71
Plane selection, 26, 46
Run Solver, 44
Symmetry and Periodicity Setup, 35, 36
Units Setup, 24
View Setup, 25

F
Field Analysis Result dialog box
View Type, 47, 50, 64

G
geometry commands
arc (point, point, center), 26
poly line, 27
Geometry Operation tool bar
Sweep Setting, 29
Geometry Selection Type drop-down list box on
Utilities tool bar, 12

Parametrics
creating animations, 63
Final Parametric Table, 71
Graph Plot dialog box, 71
overview, 55
parameter value table, 60
playing animations, 73
running, 69
starting, 57, 68
steps in creating, 56
validating, 61
performing simulations
basic steps, 5
periodic condition
example, 20

S
selecting geometry
multiple selections, 16
Status Bar, 9
symmetry condition
example, 20

T
Title Bar, 8
tool bars
displaying, 22
Modify, 22
moving, 9
Standard, 22
Standard View, 9, 11, 33, 34, 38, 43
Utilities, 9, 12, 13, 14, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 35,
37, 46
View, 9, 11, 33, 34, 38, 43

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3D Electric Quick Start Guide

solid view, 38
translucent view, 33

Utilities tool bar


setting Geometry Selection Type, 12, 29, 35, 37,
38, 59

W
Workspace, 9

V
view modes
hidden line view, 43