CompuToolAble’s unique expertise on modeling and simulation

    In the table below, an overview of our modeling and simulation expertise is shown. You can see for yourself in the left column, that almost all important topics are covered. The proof at the right side, consists of (scientific) publications that were (co)produced by the founder of CompuToolAble including all model and program code development.


Expertise at CompuToolAble



Expert HANDS-ON Experience MatLab, SimuLink and Comsol

We have more than 20 years HANDS-ON experience using MatLab, SimuLink and Comsol (formerly called FemLab). In 1997 at the first Benelux MatLab conference we already presented a MatLab Toolbox (1997). In 1998 FemLab 1.0 was released (see figure at the left) as a MatLab Toolbox. I became the first FemLab user at the continent (according Comsol). Our FemLab/Comsol contributions are accessible at the Comsol website. Our SimuLink experiences also originates from the very early releases of MatLab. A recent review paper regarding SimuLink provides an overview.

Profound Science driven modeling

Our first scientific work originates from 1998. In this paper we built a non linear model using MatLab for simulating mass transport in cavities. One of the very first scientific Journal paper where Comsol (i.e. FemLab) was used was published in 2002. In 2007 a PhD thesis was finished regarding the development and evaluation of an integrated heat and mass simulation environment including more than 25 different models. I was twice invited Keynote speaker at the 1st and 5th European Comsol Conference in Eindhoven (2007) and Stuttgart (2011) and three times Guest Editor for scientific journal specials related to Comsol and SimuLink. As an example, a recent editorial on the application of Comsol for the built environment is shown here.

Simulate experiments before built

Simulate experiments before built. This is a very important tool to reduce costs. You can simulate an expected performance before built and already optimize some experimental parameters in a early stage. We mention here the modeling and simulation of a combined heat pump, storage, exchanger using SimuLink before actually built. After some adjustments the experiment was built. The principle of simulate experiments before built is so important that it has become part of an academic course on scientific methods. In this course students use a Comsol app to simulate a heat transfer experiment that will be built and evaluated later during the course.

Simulate measurements in situ, to understand what's happening.

Simulate measurements in situ, to understand what's happening. "To measure is to know", if you know what you are measuring. You probably do know if you can model and simulate the output of the sensors. We present here the work of Schellen and van Schijndel regarding the set point control for air heating in a church to minimize moisture related mechanical stress in wooden interior parts, with the focus on the preservation of a monumental organ.

Control of Virtual experiments

Control of Virtual experiments. Simulation is often used to test and optimize controllers. For example van den Brink and van Schijndel use SimuLink to improve the control of the pressure in a cleanroom environment. With the combination of SimuLink and Comsol it is even possible to control 3D FEM based models. How this can be done is explained in this paper on SimuLink and Comsol. The advantage of this approach is that the special solvers of Comsol can be used in the SimuLink environment. An example of the control of a simulated airflow experiment is shown here.

Physics based performance of designs

Physics based performance of designs. Simulating the performance of designs before built may save a lot of time and effort. Physics-based modeling is a proven method for performance simulation. Here we present two examples: The application of ventilated facades can help reduce thermal loads during high temperatures and solar radiation, which in effect reduces the energy consumption due to air-conditioning systems. In this work we used the Navier-Stokes equations to simulate the performances of several ventilated facades designs. The second example shows the evaluation of the current system components and indoor climate of a high tech installation when the system fails. Several performances of designs, based on validated physics-based simulations, are evaluated to retrieve an optimal solution. ...

Proof of concept by the laws of physics

Proof of concept by the laws of physics. Before building and testing a new concept in reality it is important to know on forehand whether your innovation might work or not. If your new idea is confirmed by the laws of physics, this could be a major step forward. In Williams Portal et al. (2014), we built combined heat, mass, stress-strain model in Comsol (i.e. based on physics), to show the concept of possible damage in artifacts due to changes in temperature and humidity. Furthermore, in this paper we verified the concept of a lumped parameter model on indoor climate and energy by the laws of physics using Comsol.


Visualization. It is very important to present your results in a convincing manner for yourself and for your clients. MatLab and Comsol are both well equipped with very powerful visualization functions. We produced maps for analyzing regional climate influence on building performance indicators such as energy use and indoor climate. Moreover, more sophisticated EU maps were published in a European Project brochure on Climate for Culture.

Creating WEB applications

Creating WEB applications. Both MatLab as well as Comsol are well equipped for developing web interfaces. This means that tools can be run simply from any web browser (without the need for MatLab and Comsol being installed).At this moment, Comsol is putting a lot of effort in the development of the so-called web server. With this new technique it is now for the first time quite easy to make web based multi physics simulations available for anyone. You can do complex simulations from your smartphone anywhere. Of course we already have experience with this novelty. We developed a Comsol App that can be very suitable because it provides a way for students playing with virtual experiments without almost any prior software (Comsol) experience.


Optimization. Optimizing your design parameters may save a lot of costs. MatLab and Comsol have state-of-the-art optimization toolboxes available. We have the expertise to include these functions for your tool. Furthermore, we studied the optimal operation of a complex hospital installation. Detailed control strategies are calculated for 3 types of optimization strategies simulated.

Inverse Modeling

Inverse Modeling. By inverse modeling we mean that we derive physics-based models from given measurements. This is also a great opportunity to do much more with your data. We estimated source terms from relatively simple standard measurements using models. From just observations (i.e. photos) alone, and by the use of 3D modeling techniques we were able to pinpoint the location of unwanted source terms at the external surface. Kramer et al. (2013) presents a inverse modeling method in state space form to identify key parameters of a hygrothermal process in the built environment. It was amongst others successfully used to reduce computation time very significantly.


Education. This is perhaps the most important topic for companies and society. The only way to consolidate certain techniques is to educate people. Due to our long experience at the university with students, we have the skills to explain complex modeling problems in a rather simple way. This is of course very handy at the moment we deliver a tool to the customer and explain its functionalities. We included an example of a course on Multiphysics that was published in an educational Journal. It includes a description of how Comsol works and six exercises with 2D, 3D, steady state and transient models.


Saving time and resourses by doing simulated experiments first






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