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ANSYS Maxwell is the premier electromagnetic field simulation software for designing, analyzing and optimizing 2D and 3D electrostatic, electromagnetic and electromechanical devices such as rotating electrical machines, permanent magnet machines, static devices, transformers, actuators, coils, electrostatic fields around bushings, insulators etc.
Maxwell uses the Finite Element Approach to solve for the Magnetic or Electric field distribution in a finite region or volume with prescribed Boundary Conditions and relevant forcing function. Based on the selected solver, the applicable Maxwell’s equations are solved.
Advantages: Maxwell obviates expensive prototyping and affords accurate estimation of machine magnetic fields fully accounting for non-linearity of the lamination material used. Design offices employ Maxwell for – (i) Design validation (ii) Comparative evaluation of design options and (iii) Failure investigation. Such exercises when undertaken prior to manufacture have been found to deliver promised performance.
Solvers: Maxwell has both Electric and Magnetic solvers in 2D and 3D domain. The 12 solvers in Maxwell are categorized depending on model geometry and field physics. Axisymmetric solvers are grouped under 2D. Figure 1 shows the organization of solvers in Maxwell.
Modeling: Maxwell permits import of model geometry from a variety of CAD neutral formats. User Defined Primitives (UDP) in Maxwell provides template based accurate and fast model generation. Alternately, the CAD primitives can be used to generate the model geometry. Maxwell comes with a huge Materials library. Additionally, users can add material and non-linearity curves specific to their industry. Excitations and Boundary Conditions are solver dependant (Fig 2 and 3).
Maxwell can also use Permanent Magnets for forcing function. A variety of Permanent Magnets are described in the Material Library. Maxwell comes with a Circuit Editor which can be used as a pre-defined forcing function and passive probes such as ammeters, volt meters and watt meters. Maxwell can be linked to Simplorer for co-simulations involving drives. A validation check is provided to ensure all essential steps are completed (Figure 4).
Adaptive Meshing: Maxwell employs the powerful “Adaptive Mesh Generation Algorithm”. This algorithm automatically refines the mesh with every pass to provide consistent and accurate results conforming to user stipulated error norm.
The Adaptive Meshing workflow is shown in Figure 5. The process ensures optimum utilization of system resources. The error norm can also be an expression cache with stipulated margin expressed as a percentage. During the solution phase, the variation in energy, percentage error etc with every pass can be monitored in tabular as well as graphical form.
Mesh Operations: Besides the Adaptive Mesh Generation Algorithm, Maxwell provides the user a facility wherein the user can define and enforce a mesh of desired size (Figure 6). Such a step enables faster convergence and smoother mapping of fields in core areas of specific interest to user.
Executive Parameters: Typical, often necessitated electromagnetic parameters such as the Virtual Force and its components, Lorentz force and its components, Inductance and Capacitance Matrix etc are automatically computed using the Executive Parameter facility.
Setup Solution: A setup for solution is generated and for which the number of passes and “error norm” are to be defined by user. The default value of this norm is one percent. With smaller values of the error norm the number of passes required increase to provide a higher accuracy field map.
Post processing: On completion of the solution in the earlier step, the field distributions can be viewed. Commonly desired features for displaying field distributions such as Line plots, Shaded density plots and Vector distributions are presented. These plots can be further manipulated for select viewing on specific objects (Figure 7). The FE mesh can also be generated. The displayed image in the Project window can be Copy Pasted to any document.
Maxwell supports 3d surface representation of parameter variation as also animation of such surfaces (Figure 8). Field distributions in 3d can be viewed in several cut planes defined by user. Maxwell permits hiding of areas that mask interior distributions.
Points, Lines and Surfaces: At times, designers are interested in examining the distribution of a field value at a point or along a line or in a surface or volume. Maxwell permits definition of Points, Lines and Surfaces on which the field quantity can be mapped. For example, using the Post processor Calculator, users can decompose the air gap flux density into its radial and tangential components and then map them onto an air gap line for display graphically (Figure 9). Such distributions can be subjected to Fourier analysis to extract harmonic voltage magnitudes in synchronous generators and for estimating Telephone Harmonic Capability of the machine.
Fields Calculator: The Fields Calculator (Figure 10) in Maxwell affords mathematical, trigonometric and vector manipulations, integration, differentiation, scalar to vector and vector to scalar conversions. The Fields Calculator is tailored to script expressions involving the basic field quantities for extracting electromagnetic parameters of interest to designers.
Named Expression: After a Nominal Solution is obtained, users can then define expressions which lead to extraction of electromagnetic parameters (Figure 11). These could be flux linkages, inductance, induced voltage etc. Such expressions are called “Named Expressions”. These Named Expressions are small macro’s that are repeatedly called during the process of a Parametric Sweep. Named Expressions called in parametric sweep, can generate machine characteristic curves.
Variables & Parametric Sweep: Any dimension, excitation or linear material property can be defined as a Variable. Thereafter, a Parametric Sweep can be generated with the defined variable. A Parametric Sweep involves repeated solving of the project for all the values of the swept variable. The Named Expressions enable computing the detail for every simulation undertaken. Such exercises typically are meant for generating machine characteristic curves, e.m parameter variations over a range of operations and so on (Figure 12). Example: Where the rotor mechanical angle is the variable, one can expect to generate curves involving stator coil flux linkages, induced voltage etc. Parametric Sweeps involving geometry movement or rotation facilitate animation of field distributions.
Animation: Field distributions obtained for a variety of excitations or geometry changes through parametric sweep can be animated. Animation enables a frame by frame visualization of the fields inside the device. Frame by frame stepping of the field distribution is also possible in Maxwell. Animations can be saved as .gif or .avi files for presentations.
Detailing graphs: Parametric Sweeps are typically undertaken to generate detail. It is customary to present such information in graphical form. Graphs generated in Maxwell can be subjected to – annotations such as X & Y-Markers, Notes, Stickers and mathematical manipulations such as Peak-to-Peak, Max & Min, RMS, Average, mean and standard deviations etc commonly sought by designers (Figure 13). Graphs can be Copy Pasted into any office document.
Optimetrics: Besides, Parametric Analysis, the Optimetrics feature in Maxwell enables –
- Sensitivity studies and
- Statistical studies
These are invaluable tools for investigating options at design stage
High Performance Computing: Solution times for large real life 3d problems can be very high. Maxwell is fully parallel in architecture. The HPC enables utilization of all cores present in a Workstation thereby substantially reducing solution time. HPC significantly cuts down solution times by paralleling the solver time.
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