Electromagnetic specialist Vector Fields is releasing a powerful software tool for modelling the quenching process in superconducting materials.
Available as part of the company's Opera CAE software suite for low-frequency electromagnetic simulation, the new Quench tool provides developers of superconducting equipment such as MRI/NMR (magnetic resonance imaging/nuclear magnetic resonance) scanners with a rapid means of developing and optimising designs.
Understanding the quenching process is critical for these application areas, because superconducting magnets typically operate close to their critical current for reasons of performance and cost.
Until now, users have developed their own simulators using general-purpose multi-physics modelling software, adding weeks or even months to development timescale. Alternatively, they have employed empirical techniques to optimise designs, which typically forces the inclusion of large safety margins.
Quench is a highly-optimised tool that runs simulations extremely rapidly on a standard PC platform. Developed in conjunction with two of the world's leading developers of superconducting magnets, the accuracy of the algorithms at the heart of the Quench model have been verified by comparing results against measurements of real-world coils. The execution speed of the software is so great that many simulations will run in minutes: a four-coil MRI magnet assembly will execute in around 10 minutes, for instance.
The key innovation incorporated in Quench is the extremely tight coupling between the electromagnetic and thermal modelling processes, which exchange data in real-time as the simulation steps forward. The results can be post-processed to provide users with clear views and analyses of quench propagation and eddy current effects as the material heats up and becomes resistive, including displays of the voltages between coil layers, temperature gradients, and so on.
Quench runs as a module within the Opera package, which is renowned for the accuracy of its electromagnetic simulation. The software provides a complete design-model-optimise toolset to speed the design of products and systems incorporating electromagnetic materials.
In the latest iteration of the software, the 3D geometric modelling kernel has been enhanced to support quench-related applications. Among the enhancements are a simple means of entering a material's non-linear properties, including critical current density characteristics, and tools for drawing and specifying the highly sophisticated coil magnets used in superconducting equipment. Protection circuitry may also be incorporated easily into models. Mechanical designs can be imported from other CAD packages.
The new software makes it simple to perform 'what if' investigations, as the powerful user interface allows models to be fully parameterised. Parametric models can also be combined with optimisation tools that allow users to set design goals for multiple parameters simultaneously, with the software automatically finding the best solution to fine-tune user-defined characteristics.
For more information, visit www.vectorfields.com"