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Particle Tracing Module

Particle Tracing Module

Released with version 4.2a in October 2011 Add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics Combines with any COMSOL Multiphysics Module

Particle Tracing
Particle tracing can be used as an alternative to the finite element method for solving real world physics problems Advantages:
No numerical instabilities which occur in the finite element method due to high Peclet numbers Much simpler mathematics involved in formulating the problem Solves a different class of problems which COMSOL currently cant handle

Ion cyclotron motion

Key Applications
Particle trajectories in a static mixer

Mass spectrometry Beam physics and ion optics Fluid flow visualization Sprays Separation and filtration
Ion energy distribution function

Fluid Flow

Ray tracing for smoothly graded materials (limited ray tracing) Ion energy distribution function Acoustic streaming Classical mechanics


Acoustics Mathematics

Key Features
Particle tracing is now available as a physics interface which means:
The powerful solvers used to solve finite element based problems in COMSOL can be utilized Hundreds of thousands of particles can be modeled comfortably Parametric sweep machinery can be used Boundary conditions can be applied to the particles Solution is stored in the model rather than computed during postprocessing Implicit timestepping Particle/field interaction is supported Predefined forces are available as features in the model tree Hamiltonian formulation allows ray tracing to be modeled New postprocessing tools

Luneburg lens

Magnetic lens

Quadrupole mass spectrometer

Physics Interfaces
There are three physics interfaces included with the Particle Tracing Module Mathematical Particle Tracing

Specify the equations of motion using Massless, Newtonian, Lagrangian or Hamiltonian formulations Complete freedom over the equations solved allows, for example, ray tracing to be modeled Model ion and electron trajectories in electric and magnetic fields Easy to define electric, magnetic and collisional forces

Charged Particle Tracing

Particle Tracing for Fluid Flow

Model microscopic and macroscopic particles in a fluid Includes drag, gravitational, dielectrophoretic, acoustophoretic and many other forces

Charged Particle Tracing

Use this to model ion and electron trajectories in electric and magnetic fields Predefined forces Typically the fields are pre-computed from one of the AC/DC interfaces Particle-field interactions

Particle Tracing for Fluid Flow

Use this to model motion of microscopic particles in a fluid Predefined forces Typically the velocity field is pre-computed using one of the interfaces in the CFD or Microfluidics modules Fluid-particle interactions

Mathematical Particle Tracing

Complete freedom over the equations solved for each particle
Analogous to the PDE modes offered in COMSOL Multiphysics

Many different ways of solving the same problem, for example:

Formulation Equation of motion Charged Particle in a Magnetic Field

Hamiltonian Newtonian Massless N/A

Boundary conditions - Freeze

Freeze (default)
Particles stick to the wall when they strike it The velocity of the particles at the moment of impact with the wall is frozen for all subsequent timesteps. This is useful to recover the velocity and energy distribution function of particles when they strike the wall Used to compute the ion energy distribution function in plasma models

Boundary conditions - Bounce

Particles can bounce off walls (specular reflection) for the Newtonian, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations This option is not available for Massless particle tracing Momentum is conserved exactly Useful in fluid based applications and on symmetry axis

Boundary conditions
Freeze (default) Stick



Release of Particles
Mesh Based
Set the refinement factor. The higher the refinement factor, the more particles are released.

Set the density of particles proportional to an expression

The expression can be a function of parameters and variables. Setting this to one will give a uniform distribution.

Uniform distribution on boundaries

Gives an exact uniform distribution of particles on flat surfaces.

Grid based particle release

Enter a grid of coordinates for the initial positions of the particles.

Mesh Based Particle Release

Refinement factor = 1 Refinement factor = 2

Density Based Particle Release

Expression = 1

Expression = 1/(x2+y2)

Grid Based Particle Release

Release uniformly from -0.4 to 0.4 Graded grid

Uniform Particle Release

Uniform release on a boundary Uniform release on a boundary in 3D

Postprocessing Features
Particle trajectory plots Poincare sections & maps Phase portraits Point and click on particles interactively Animations Histograms Transmission probabilities
Poincare map for a Rossler attractor

Phase portrait

Advanced Features
Particle-field interaction Add auxiliary dependent variables to compute particle mass, temperature, spin etc Integrate auxiliary dependent variables with respect to time or along the particle trajectory Reflect particles off walls (specular reflection) User defined forces

Particle field interaction

Integrated shear rate along particle trajectories

Flexible particle tracing tool for all types of physics Addresses many of the problems reported by our user base with the current particle tracing functionality Advanced modeling tools Massless, Newtonian, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations

Mixing in a static mixer