COMSOL Multiphysics

Private company
Industry Computer software
Founded Stockholm, Sweden (1986)
Key people

Svante Littmarck, CEO COMSOL Group

Farhad Saeidi, President COMSOL AB

COMSOL Multiphysics

COMSOL Multiphysics
Developer(s) COMSOL
Stable release
5.2a / June 17, 2016 (2016-06-17)
Operating system Cross-platform

Computer-aided engineering,

Finite element analysis
License Proprietary EULA

COMSOL Multiphysics is a finite element analysis, solver and simulation software / FEA software package for various physics and engineering applications, especially coupled phenomena, or multiphysics. The package is cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux). In addition to conventional physics-based user interfaces, COMSOL Multiphysics also allows entering coupled systems of partial differential equations (PDEs). The PDEs can be entered directly or using the so-called weak form. Since version 5.0 (2014), COMSOL Multiphysics is also used for creating physics-based apps. These apps can be run with a regular COMSOL Multiphysics license but also with a COMSOL Server license. An early version (before 2005) of COMSOL Multiphysics was called FEMLAB.


COMSOL was started in 1986 by Svante Littmarck and Farhad Saeidi (graduate students of Germund Dahlquist) based on code developed for a graduate course at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden.


COMSOL Multiphysics

An application of shell and tube heat exchanger which includes the model as well; and an instance of running application.

The main product is COMSOL Desktop which is an integrated user interface environment designed for cross-disciplinary product development with a unified workflow for electrical, mechanical, fluid, and chemical applications. The add-on modules blend into COMSOL Desktop, and the way of operation of the software remains the same no matter which add-on products are engaged.

The Application Builder is also available with the COMSOL Desktop environment and allows for creating specialized applications, based on a physics model, with a user interface that avoids the details of the simulation model from the perspective of the end user. Two editors are available for designing applications; using drag-and-drop tools, in the Form Editor, or by programming using the Method Editor. There is scope to include specific features from the model or introduce new ones through programming using the Method Editor.

COMSOL Multiphysics also provides application programming interfaces (APIs). The COMSOL API for use with Java comes included with COMSOL Multiphysics, and provides a programmatic way of driving the software through compiled object oriented code. This API is also used in the Method Editor of the Application Builder. LiveLink for MATLAB provides the ability to work with COMSOL Multiphysics in combination with MATLAB.

The Physics Builder, which is included in COMSOL Desktop, makes it possible to create custom made physics interfaces accessible from the COMSOL Desktop with the same look-and-feel as the built-in physics interfaces. In the case of the Physics Builder, no programming is needed as it works in the COMSOL Desktop from the Physics Builder Tree, defining new user interface components. The newer Application Builder has largely replaced the Physics Builder as a tool for creating custom user interfaces for specific needs.


COMSOL Server is the software and engine for running simulation apps and the platform for controlling their deployment and distribution. The apps can be run in COMSOL Server through web browsers or a Windows-installed client. COMSOL Server was released with version 5.0.1 in December 2014. The COMSOL Server license is world-wide and allows for third-party access to simulation apps. A COMSOL Server installation can, for example, be used to present simulation apps to users who rent time for access.

Add-on Products

Several add-on products are available for COMSOL Multiphysics.[1] These have been categorized according to the applications areas, namely Electrical, Mechanical, Fluid, Chemical, Multipurpose, and Interfacing. Also note that these add-ons are of two types: one with COMSOL Multiphysics, and one with COMSOL Server.


AC/DC Module

The AC/DC Module is used for simulating electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields in static and low-frequency applications. This help you solve virtually all models that work under this module.

RF Module

The RF Module is used by designers of RF and microwave devices to design antennas, waveguides, filters, circuits, cavities, and metamaterials.

Wave Optics Module

The Wave Optics Module provides dedicated tools for electromagnetic wave propagation in linear and nonlinear optical media. The module can be used to model high-frequency electromagnetic wave simulations in either frequency- or time-domain in optical structures.

Ray Optics Module

The Ray Optics Module can be used to model electromagnetic wave propagation in systems in which the wavelength is much smaller than the smallest geometric detail in the model.

MEMS Module

The MEMS Module provides predefined user interfaces with associated modeling tools, referred to as physics interfaces, for a variety of coupled physics, including electromagnetic-structure, thermal-structure, or fluid-structure interactions.

Plasma Module

The Plasma Module is used to model and simulate low-temperature plasma sources and systems. Engineers and scientists use it to gain insight into the physics of discharges and gauge the performance of existing or potential designs.

Semiconductor Module

The Semiconductor Module allows for detailed analysis of semiconductor device operation at the fundamental physics level. The module is based on the drift-diffusion equations, using isothermal or nonisothermal transport models.

Structural & Acoustics

Structural Mechanics Module

The Structural Mechanics Module is dedicated to the analysis of mechanical structures that are subject to static or dynamic loads. It can be used for a wide range of analysis types, including stationary, transient, eigenmode/modal, parametric, quasi-static, frequency-response, buckling, and prestressed.

Nonlinear Structural Materials Module

The Nonlinear Structural Materials Module augments the mechanical capabilities of the Structural Mechanics Module and the MEMS Module with nonlinear material models, including large strain plastic deformation capabilities.

Geomechanics Module

The Geomechanics Module is an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and is used to analyze geotechnical applications, such as tunnels, excavations, slope stability, and retaining structures.

Fatigue Module

The Fatigue Module can be used for fatigue analysis of different structures.

Multibody Dynamics Module

The Multibody Dynamics Module is an expansion of the Structural Mechanics Module that provides an advanced set of tools for designing and optimizing multibody structural mechanics systems using finite element analysis (FEA). The module can be used to simulate mixed systems of flexible and rigid bodies, where each body may be subjected to large rotational or translational displacements.

Rotordynamics Module

The Rotordynamics Module is an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and is used to analyze the effects of lateral and torsional vibrations of rotating machinery in order to study rotor vibrations and contain their levels within acceptable design limits.

Acoustics Module

The Acoustics Module is used for simulating devices that produce, measure, and utilize acoustic waves. The application areas include speakers, microphones, hearing aids, and sonar devices, to name a few. Noise control can be addressed in muffler design, sound barriers, and building acoustic applications.

Fluid & Heat

CFD Module

The CFD Module is the platform for simulating devices and systems that involve sophisticated fluid flow models. As is the case with all modules in the COMSOL Product Suite, the CFD Module provides ready-made physics interfaces that are configured to receive model inputs via the graphical user interface (GUI), and to use these inputs to formulate model equations. The particular physics interfaces that the CFD Module is equipped with enable you to model most aspects of fluid flow, including descriptions of compressible, nonisothermal, non-Newtonian, two-phase, and porous media flows – all in the laminar and turbulent flow regimes. The CFD Module can be used as a standard tool for simulating computational fluid dynamics (CFD), or in collaboration with the other modules in the COMSOL Product Suite for multiphysics simulations where fluid flow is important.

Mixer Module

The Mixer Module is an add-on to the CFD Module and is used to analyze fluid mixers and stirred reactors. It contains dedicated functionality for simulating fluid flow subjected to rotating machinery.

Microfluidics Module

The Microfluidics Module is used for studying microfluidic devices. Some important applications include simulations of lab-on-a-chip devices, digital microfluidics, electrokinetic and magnetokinetic devices, and inkjets.

Subsurface Flow Module

The Subsurface Flow Module is for engineers and scientists who want to simulate fluid flow below ground or in other porous media and also connect this flow with other phenomena, such as poroelasticity, heat transfer, chemistry, and electromagnetic fields. It can be used for modeling groundwater flow, the spread of waste and pollution through soil, the flow of oil and gas to wells, and land subsidence due to groundwater extraction.

Pipe Flow Module

The Pipe Flow Module is used for simulations of fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, hydraulic transients, and acoustics in pipe and channel networks. It can be easily integrated with any of the other modules in the COMSOL Product Suite for modeling the effects piping has on larger entities, such as cooling pipes in engine blocks or feeding and product channels connected to vessels.

Molecular Flow Module

The Molecular Flow Module is used for the simulation of vacuum systems including those used in semiconductor processing, particle accelerators and mass spectrometers. Small channel applications (e.g. shale gas exploration and flow in nanoporous materials) can also be addressed.

Heat Transfer Module

The Heat Transfer Module contains simulation tools to study the mechanisms of heat transfer – conduction, convection, and radiation – often in collaboration with other physics, such as structural mechanics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetics, and chemical reactions.


Chemical Reaction Engineering Module

The Chemical Reaction Engineering Module contains the tools to simulate material transport and heat transfer together with arbitrary chemical kinetics in all types of environments - gases, liquids, porous media, on surfaces, and within solid phases - or combinations of all of these.

Batteries & Fuel Cells Module

The Batteries & Fuel Cells Module models the underlying electrochemical behavior in the electrodes and electrolytes of batteries and fuel cells.

Electrodeposition Module

The Electrodeposition Module is used to study the important characteristics of electrodeposition cells.

Corrosion Module

The Corrosion Module allows engineers and scientists to investigate the processes leading to corrosion, gain an understanding of the extent to which corrosion could occur over the lifetime of a structure, and implement preventative measures to inhibit electrochemical corrosion, in order to protect the structures.

Electrochemistry Module

The Electrochemistry Module includes capabilities such as modeling electrochemical reaction mechanisms, mass transport, and current density distributions enable efficient simulation for applications including electrolysis, electrodialysis, electroanalysis, electrochemical sensors, and bioelectrochemistry.


Optimization Module

The Optimization Module is an add-on package that can be used in conjunction with any existing COMSOL Multiphysics Product for optimization purposes. It is a general interface which can be used for defining objective functions, specifying design variables, and setting up the constraints.

Material Library

The Material Browser can be complemented by the Material Library to add more materials. It contains data for 2500 materials – including the elements, minerals, metal alloys, thermal insulators, semiconductors, and piezoelectric materials.

Particle Tracing Module

The Particle Tracing Module extends the functionality of the COMSOL environment for computing the trajectory of particles in a fluid or electromagnetic field, including particle-particle, fluid-particle, and particle-field interactions.


LiveLink for MATLAB

LiveLink for MATLAB integrates COMSOL Multiphysics with MATLAB to extend modeling with scripting programming in the MATLAB environment. LiveLink for MATLAB allows for utilization of the full power of MATLAB and its toolboxes in preprocessing, model manipulation, and postprocessing.

CAD Import Module

The CAD Import Module supports the import of a variety of different file formats including the Parasolid and ACIS formats, and standard formats like STEP and IGES.

ECAD Import Module

The ECAD Import Module can be used to import ECAD files into COMSOL Multiphysics and convert the 2D layouts into 3D geometry that is suitable for simulation.

LiveLink for Inventor

LiveLink for Inventor allows to combine COMSOL Multiphysics analysis with Autodesk Inventor. It allows to integrate it with the capabilities of COMSOL Multiphysics from within the Inventor modeling environment, and utilize its power for geometry design.

LiveLink for Revit

LiveLink for Revit provides an integration tool and interface for transferring geometry of elements from architectural design projects in Autodesk Revit software to COMSOL Multiphysics software.

LiveLink for PTC Pro/ENGINEER

LiveLin for PTC Pro/ENGINEER provides the capability to integrate 3D CAD design with COMSOL Multiphysics simulation.

File Import for CATIA V5

File Import for CATIA V5 works as an add-on to the CAD Import Module, and translates CATIA V5 part (.CATPart) or assembly (.CATProduct) files using authentic libraries from CATIA V5.

LiveLink for Excel

LiveLink for Excel allows to take advantage of the capabilities and structured simplicity offered by Excel to extend COMSOL Multiphysics modeling capacity.

Design Module

The Design Module expands the geometric modeling functionality of COMSOL Multiphysics software by providing additional tools for creating geometries and importing a variety of CAD file formats.

LiveLink for SolidWorks

LiveLink for SolidWorks along with COMSOL Multiphysics delivers enhanced connectivity for efficient integration of simulation into design workflow.

LiveLink for AutoCAD

LiveLink for AutoCAD can be used to synchronize CAD models with COMSOL Multiphysics to create model geometries for simulation.

LiveLink for PTC Creo Parametric

LiveLink for PTC Creo Parametric links 3D designs in the PTC Creo Parametric CAD system to COMSOL Multiphysics model geometries for simulation.

LiveLink for Solid Edge

LiveLink for Solid Edge is part of a robust platform that enables to integrate multiphysics simulation into 3D product design workflow.

Alternative software

Free and open-source software

Proprietary software

Additional Features

Interfacing & Batch Jobs

COMSOL may be used from a batch file (.bat) by using the following command line entries. The first three lines calls COMSOL (comsolbatch), specifies the input file, specifies the output file (with the extension of _OUT), and records the log. The last three lines launches three different instances of the software after the batch job is completed. This is beneficial if one wants to open up all of the files once the batch job completes (e.g. each file is large, such as 40 GB or greater).

comsolbatch -inputfile C:\myfolder\myfile01.mph -outputfile C:\myfolder\myfile01_OUT.mph -batchlog C:\myfolder\myfile01_log.log

comsolbatch -inputfile C:\myfolder\myfile02.mph -outputfile C:\myfolder\myfile02_OUT.mph -batchlog C:\myfolder\myfile02_log.log

comsolbatch -inputfile C:\myfolder\myfile03.mph -outputfile C:\myfolder\myfile03_OUT.mph -batchlog C:\myfolder\myfile03_log.log

start C:\myfolder\myfile01_OUT.mph

start C:\myfolder\myfile02_OUT.mph

start C:\myfolder\myfile03_OUT.mph

See also


  1. "COMSOL Multiphysics Modeling Software". Comsol, Inc. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  2. "Advanced Simulation Library". Avtech Scientific. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  3. "Clawpack". University of Washington. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  4. "Deal.II: an open source finite element library". Universität Heidelberg. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  5. "FEATool - a Matlab FEM Finite Element Multiphysics Toolbox". Precise Simulation Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  6. "Gerris Flow Solver". National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  7. "OpenFVM". OpenFVM Project Site. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  8. "Palabos Flow Solver". FlowKit Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  9. "SU2: The Open Source CFD Code". SU2 Project Site. Stanford University. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  10. "Elmer". CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  11. "Azore". Azore Technologies, LLC. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  12. "Cradle". Software Cradle Co., Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  13. "scSTREAM". Software Cradle Co., Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  14. "HeatDesigner". Software Cradle Co., Ltd. Retrieved 20 November 2015.

External links

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