Multiphysical modelling and simulation

The modelling of coupled fields lead to so called multi-field problems, which are described by a system of nonlinear partial differential equations. The complexity consists of the simultaneous computation of the involved single fields as well as in the coupling terms, which introduce in most cases additional nonlinearities, e.g. moving/deforming conductive bodies within an electromagnetic field. For the efficient solution of these multi-field problems, we have developed within the last years the simulation software openCFS based on the finite element (FE) method, which is continuously improved by new numerical schemes, advanced material models and coupling strategies. With a special focus on electromagnetics, acoustics, structural mechanics, and heat transfer, openCFS allows high-end computations of the following coupled fields: electromagnetics-mechanics-acoustics; piezoelectrics-acoustics; electro-thermo-mechanics; electrostatic-mechanics-acoustics; aeroacoustics. The following features, which set openCFS apart from commercial simulation programmes, provide an overview of methodological capabilities of openCFS:

  • FLEXIBLE DISCRETISATION: Nonconforming grid techniques can handle computational grids being considerably different in adjacent subdomains. Thereby, not only the numerical error can be strongly reduced, but also the pre-processing of complex structures is significantly simplified.
  • HIGHER ORDER FINITE ELEMENTS: In addition to standard FE methods (isoparametric approximation), openCFS allows for high order elements, which guarantee optimal convergence rates and therefore computational efficiency.
  • COUPLING STRATEGIES:  openCFS allows for both volume as well as surface coupling between different physical fields and performs a simultaneous solution of the coupled fields.

Our FE simulation program openCFS is an integral part in almost all our fundamental and industrial research projects and allows for efficient virtual prototyping. Sime demonstrative examples:

  • Design of induction heating systems
  • Electromagnetic field in a magnetic resonance tomograph (MRT)

  • MEMS loudspeakers
  • Design of power transformers


  • Electro-thermal simulations of power semiconductors

  • Computational aeroacoustics for air-conditioning systems


  • Aortic dissection and human phonation