Updated: Oct 21
What’s special about COMSOL Multiphysics? COMSOL Multiphysics is a powerful finite element analysis simulation software that allows users to model and solve complex physics and engineering problems. It stands out for its ability to combine multiple physics into one simulation environment. COMSOL makes it easy to link different physics interfaces together to create accurate coupled-physics representations of real-world systems.
Product: COMSOL Multiphysics
Founding Date: 1986
IPO Status: Private
Founders: Farhad Saeidi, Svante Littmarck, and Bjorn Sjodin
Deployment Type: COMSOL Multiphysics uses a licensed on-premise software model that is installed locally. Cloud simulation options on Microsoft Azure were recently introduced.
Free Trial: offers a 30-day free trial version of COMSOL Multiphysics
Company HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Rating: 4.2 ⭐ | 31
What is COMSOL Multiphysics?
COMSOL Multiphysics is a cross-platform simulation software package for the modeling and simulation of scientific and engineering problems based on partial differential equations (PDEs). Its main interface is through a graphical user interface and modeling environment. COMSOL provides interfaces for commonly used physics and engineering applications such as structural mechanics, acoustics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical engineering. Custom equations and material properties can also be added to models.
Pros of COMSOL Multiphysics:
COMSOL Multiphysics allows you to easily combine multiple physics interfaces in one model for comprehensive simulations. I found the ability to couple different physics like structural mechanics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer very useful for modeling complex real-world systems.
The user interface is intuitive and easy to learn even for someone new to modeling and simulation software. The interactive model builder allows you to quickly set up physics interfaces and coupling without needing to manually enter complex mathematical equations.
There are abundant resources like tutorials, manuals, and an active user community to help you get started with using the software. I was able to start simulating models after going through some basic tutorials.
Once you understand the software, COMSOL gives you the flexibility to model very complex geometries and scenarios by implementing custom equations and boundary conditions. I was able to simulate unique situations specific to my models.
The LiveLink integration with CAD software like Solidworks makes it very convenient to import existing CAD geometry instead of rebuilding it from scratch. I found this very helpful for analyzing designs.
Cons of COMSOL Multiphysics:
The software licensing and pricing is very expensive, especially for individual researchers and students. This limits accessibility for people wanting to learn the software.
While the user interface is easy to get started with, mastering some of the more advanced features for complex modeling requires a steep learning curve. The software has a wide range of capabilities so fully utilizing them takes time.
Computational requirements for high fidelity multiphysics simulations are very intensive. Simulating certain complex models required expensive high-end workstations or cluster computing.
The graphics and visualization tools could be improved for better manipulation and presentation of results. I found the options for data analysis and plotting limited at times.
Troubleshooting errors with failed simulations can be challenging at times since the error messages are not always clear. But the user community forums are helpful for resolving many issues.
As an experienced user of COMSOL for multiphysics simulation, I have found the software provides an accessible gateway into modeling complex systems. COMSOL makes it easy to set up coupled physics simulations in an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
However, COMSOL does have a significant learning curve. It can take weeks of training to fully leverage its advanced modeling capabilities. The underlying mathematics and solvers are hidden from users, which can make debugging tricky. Mesh generation can also be problematic for complex CAD imports or 3D geometries. But with some patience, COMSOL's unified modeling environment enables multiphysics simulations that would be extremely difficult in other software.
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COMSOL Multiphysics Pricing
COMSOL uses a tiered pricing model based on usage scenario. Commercial licenses start at around $3,495 per year for a single user license. Academics can get annual licenses for around $1,495. COMSOL also offers free trial licenses so users can test it out before purchasing.
Overall, COMSOL is competitively priced compared to alternatives like ANSYS or ABAQUS. But it is still expensive for small businesses or individual users. COMSOL does offer some discounts for startups and additional licenses generally cost less per user.
COMSOL Multiphysics's Target Market
We think COMSOL Multiphysics targets physics and engineering researchers, scientists, and simulation specialists in commercial industries. It is commonly used in R&D departments, universities, national labs, and other organizations focused on advanced numerical simulation. COMSOL sees significant use in the aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, electronics, and energy sectors.
COMSOL Multiphysics Features:
Physics interfaces for structural mechanics, fluid flow, heat transfer, electromagnetics, acoustics, chemical engineering, and more
Ability to couple multiple physics interfaces together
CAD import and geometry modeling tools
Automatic mesh generation for geometries
Solver configuration settings and control
Postprocessing and visualization of simulation results
Customizable reports and animations
Application Builder to create specialized apps
Tight integration with MATLAB and LiveLink
Distributed parallel processing support
Cloud deployment options
COMSOL Multiphysics Deployment Type and Implementation: Ansys
COMSOL Multiphysics utilizes an on-premise licensed software model. Installation files are downloaded directly from COMSOL's website and run locally on user machines. Both Windows and Linux operating systems are supported. COMSOL recently introduced cloud simulation options deployed on Microsoft Azure, which allow for offloading computing-intensive simulations.
The software is installed and runs standalone. Some additional configurations may be required for integrating with MATLAB or CAD programs. COMSOL provides detailed online documentation and tutorials that make getting started relatively straightforward. Support from COMSOL's technical staff is also available if needed.
COMSOL Multiphysics Customer Support:
As a leading simulation software vendor, COMSOL offers comprehensive technical support resources. These include:
Detailed product documentation and training materials
Contextual support directly within the COMSOL Desktop application
Online knowledge base and FAQs
Email and phone support with guaranteed response times
Worldwide onsite training courses and webinars
I have found COMSOL's support team to be very responsive, especially for licensed users. They will readily assist with any questions or issues encountered while using the software.
COMSOL Multiphysics Integrations:
CAD programs: SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, CATIA
MATLAB and Simulink coupling via LiveLink
Microsoft Excel input/output
Visualization software: Paraview, Tecplot -Programming interfaces: C/C++, Java, .NET, Python
COMSOL offers broad integration capabilities with MATLAB being a key partner. The LiveLink products enable a two-way connection between MATLAB and COMSOL for data exchange, model building, and access to MATLAB toolboxes. COMSOL models can also be exported as compiled standalone simulation apps.
COMSOL Multiphysics Scripting, Customization and Automation::
COMSOL provides a few options for automation and programming:
COMSOL Multiphysics programming interfaces for Java, C/C++, .NET, and Python
COM API for interaction with COMSOL models and data
Model M-files for automating simulation workflows in MATLAB
Application Builder for creating customized simulation apps
Additionally, the Application Builder allows power users to build speciality interfaces and tools tailored to their modelling needs. This helps streamline repeated simulation tasks.
COMSOL Multiphysics FAQs:
What are the system requirements for running COMSOL? Generally a Windows or Linux machine with at least 4 GB RAM, 1 GHz processor, and 1 GB disk space. More RAM and multiple cores are better for 3D simulations.
Does COMSOL offer any discounted academic pricing? Yes, academics can get discounted annual licenses around $1500 per user.
Can I run COMSOL in the cloud? Yes, COMSOL recently launched cloud simulation deployment options on Azure.
Is there a free or trial version available? COMSOL provides trial licenses free for 30 days.
Does COMSOL integrate with common CAD programs? Yes, LiveLink products provide direct CAD connections for programs like SolidWorks, Inventor, and CATIA.
In summary, COMSOL Multiphysics provides engineers and scientists with a powerful environment for modeling multifaceted physics phenomena. While it does have a learning curve, COMSOL enables coupled-physics simulations not practical in other software. For organizations needing to solve complex real-world experimental scenarios, COMSOL is an invaluable tool.
COMSOL Multiphysics Alternatives:
MSC Patran: Old but Gold
Abaqus: Best for dynamic analysis
Femap: Well-documented FEA software
Altair Hyperworks: Ultimate meshing control