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COMSOL Step-by-Step Tutorial Expt 140 – Tank Discharge March 4, 2013 Team 2 Joseph Duffy Zlatko Sokolikj Andrew Suellentrop. This Comsol tutorial demonstrates how to perform the velocity profile calculations using the simplest model possible It utilizes the 2D axisymmetric reference system.

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COMSOL Step-by-Step TutorialExpt 140 – Tank DischargeMarch 4, 2013Team 2Joseph DuffyZlatkoSokolikjAndrew Suellentrop


  • This Comsol tutorial demonstrates how to perform the velocity profile calculations using the simplest model possible

  • It utilizes the 2D axisymmetric reference system


Before starting anything remember to have the preferences set so that Comsol does not save a recovery file (Box should be unchecked). For more information regarding this step, please go through Chris Golding’s Tutorial about starting Comsol on a computer, located in Transport Phenomena II Balckboard



We pick laminar flow set so that

We pick laminar flow from our physics menuand press next


We pick Stationary Study Type set so that and press Finish


In the actual Exp140 Tank Discharge, our system is not stationary, yet it is time dependent as one of our boundaries, the water level, changes. However to make these calculations easier we assume a quasi steady state as outlined on page 16 of Exp140 Tank Discharge – Theoretical Background by Loren B. Schreiber. That means that Comsol will perform the calculation for the velocity while the water level is kept constant. This presents an obstacle for us as we would like to know how the velocity profile changes as the water level drops. We can overcome this obstacle with a feature called parametric sweep which will be covered later down this tutorial Before we start drawing our model we must realize the significance of our choice of dimension. We use this geometry when our 3D model is symmetric in both the x and y axis. What we need to draw in Comsol is a sketch which, when rotated around the z axis 360 degrees, will give us our model So for our model…


In the 2D axisymmetric geometry our model looks like…. stationary, yet it is time dependent as one of our boundaries, the water level, changes. However to make these calculations easier we assume a quasi steady state as outlined on page 16 of

Z-axis

The tank is a 3D model that is symmetric in the x and y coordinate

Rotated around the z axis, our model will give us the tank in 3D


However before we start drawing the system we need to set the values of the parameters we are going to use, such as density, Pipe Diameter, Tank Diameter etc.


We right click on Global Definitions and select parameters the values of the parameters we are going to use, such as density, Pipe Diameter, Tank Diameter etc.


To insert a parameter click on the cell and insert the appropriate descriptionsFor more information regarding Parameter Input, please go through Chris Golding Intro for Comsol


Remember to use square brackets when plugging in the units appropriate descriptionsIn case you plan to use these parameters for multiple models you can save them as text file which you can open later on instead of having to write them every time




To build our first rectangle that will represent our pipe, we right-click on Geometry section and select Rectangle


So first we need to choose what part of our rectangle will be our reference for its position. We pick CornerTherefore the corner of our rectangle should be at (0,0)Note*: In Comsol, whenever you can enter a number, you can also enter a equation using the parametersTherefore for width and height we write our Dp/2 and Lp.

Remember that our model will represent only one half of the side section. That is why the width of the rectangle that is supposed to represent the pipe has a width of the radius


After we are done setting up the rectangle, to materialize the rectangle on our sketch we right-click on the Rectangle1 from the Geometry Sections and select Build selected


We repeat this process for the second rectangle. The corner of this rectangle will be located at(0,Lp) while the width and the height will be (Dt/2) and LtWe materialize the rectangle on our sketch




And then click add which will redden the rectangle)We repeat this process for the other rectangle


The objects, once included in the union, should have the color of blue, and should appear in the Input Object section


In this step, we introduce the material that is used in the experimentTo do that, right-click on Materials and select Material


Make sure that this material is represented in both domains(the rectangles), which should be colored blue

We also input the density and viscosity. We can do this using values we know or using the parameters we previously entered


We enter the values in the Value Column domains(the rectangles), which should be colored blueFor density we enter RhoFor viscosity we enter Rho*Mu – the product of the kinematic viscosity and density


The next step is to select the inlet of our system domains(the rectangles), which should be colored blueRight click on Laminar Flow and select Inlet


The inlet section will appear domains(the rectangles), which should be colored blueWe need to select which wall of our system will be the inlet. Therefore we select the top wall and press add


We also choose the boundary condition domains(the rectangles), which should be colored blueFor this tutorial we choose the pressure to be our boundary condition and we set it equal to our Atmospheric Pressure


We repeat the process for the outlet. Right click on the Laminar Flow section, press Outlet and select and add the wall of the system that is to be your outletWe use the same boundary condition as the inlet


Here we select the Laminar Flow section, press Outlet and select and add the wall of the system that is to be your outletInitial ValuesWe select the Domain to be our rectanglesWe select the Pressure to be our atmospheric pressure To make our calculations faster, since we know that our velocity will be negative, we give the velocity field a small negative number in the z-direction


We introduce gravity to our Model Laminar Flow section, press Outlet and select and add the wall of the system that is to be your outletWe do that by introducing the Volume Force which is the gravitational pull on a unit of volume. The Volume force is the Density multiplied the Earth’s AccelerationRight-click on Laminar Flow, and select Volume Force. In Selection, select the domains on which this force will act, which are our two rectangles. Also in regards to the magnitude, input the negative product of Density and the Earth’s Acceleration


The next step would be to perform the calculations for the velocity in these conditionsRight-click on the Study Section and press Compute


Once the calculation is done we can see that the predicted velocity profile of the fluid is much smaller in the tank than in the pipeWe zoom in on the pipe


We can see that the velocity profile in the pipe is laminar. We can also see how the fluid speeds up as it enters the pipe and propagates farther down


If we press on the Velocity3D section we can see our model in 3D. We can also zoom in to get a better look at the velocity


  • Now we tackle the issue of constant boundary. To be able to get a feel of how the velocity changes as the tank level changes, using a constant boundary, we would have to perform separate calculations for each level of the fluid tank. In each calculation we would have to change the value of the parameter that gives us our tank level. Comsol can do these calculations all at once using a feature called parametric sweep.With parametric sweep we select a parameter that will change and we choose the range in which it will change. Comsol performs the velocity calculations for each value of the parameter



Here we select the Parameter to be changed. select Parametric Sweep First we select add…


We select the parameter that describes our tank liquid level select Parametric Sweep In this tutorial that is Lt



The following window appears will be changed.

* In this tutorial we chose the step method. With this method we pick a start value(the highest level of the liquid in the tank) a stop value( the lowest level of the liquid in the tank) and the step at which it will change. The other method is similar with the exception that we do not choose the steps, but rather we choose the number of values for that parameter and Comsol chooses the steps.

So in this tutorial- Our start value is the liquid level in the beginning- Our end value is the liquid level at the end of the experiment- Our step, to make this calculation short, is 0.1. Since we are decreasing our parameter our step has to be negative, hence it is written as -0.1. You can also choose a smaller step size; however it will make the calculation take longer and use up more RAM.- After inputting the values, press add.

**Do not forget to input the units



After the calculation is done, we can see how the velocity profile changes as we change the tank height. Select Solution 2, select the height, and press plot .


  • Now we can profile changes as we change the tank height. calculacte the average velocity and see how it changes for each height. In the geometry we are using the equation is

    Comsol can find both the numerator and the denominator for us and then we can use other computational tools to calculate .


We need to set up both integrals. profile changes as we change the tank height. We do that by right-clicking Derived Units in the Results section, selecting Integration, and then selecting Line Integration.


Now we first evaluate the numerator profile changes as we change the tank height. - We select Solution 2 for Data set; for Parameter Selection we select From list. Make sure all the values of the parameter are selected. Select the Outlet as the boundary over which we integrate - In Expression, write spf.U(the velocity profile)*r- Select Evaluate


When the integration is complete, the results will appear below in a spreadsheet format. So far we have Lt(the level in the tank) and the integral of spf.U*r which corresponds to our volumetric flow rate.Now we determine the integral in the denominator which represents the area


In Expression we input r, while everything else is kept as it was previously. -Press Evaluate- The new integral will appear in the third column

- We select the whole data set and press Copy Selection to Clipboard.


We copy the data in an Excel Spreadsheet and find the velocity at each height by dividing the Volumetric Flow rate by the Area, as given by the equation on the Previous Slide


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