Field Precision releases free electronic course on 3D electric and magnetic field calculations

Jan 5, 2015 -- The power of modern personal computers makes fully three-dimensional finite-element calculations of electric and magnetic fields a practical reality for any scientist or engineer. Rough estimates can be replaced with numerically-exact values for complex geometries and material responses. Hours of tedious benchmarking can be circumvented. Despite the benefits, many researchers hesitate to get involved because of the learning curve. Effective numerical simulations involve a degree of art usually not taught in the standard electromagnetism curriculum.

The goal of Field Precision in developing the course "Electric and magnetic field calculations with finite-element methods" is to share simulation experience in field calculations with first-time users. The strategy is to build students' knowledge and experience in steps so they can apply finite-element programs confidently. The course emphasizes hands-on operation rather than theoretical details. Included is a 124-page textbook and an archive of input files for the examples discussed. The text was prepared by Dr. Stanley Humphries, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico and author of the texts Principles of Charged Particle Acceleration (Wiley, 1986), Charged Particle Beams (Wiley, 1990) and Field Solutions on Computer.

The course concentrates on static electric and magnetic fields, covering a wide of applications. Examples include high-voltage systems, power transmission, electrostatic separators, MRI magnets, motors, shielding and permanent-magnet assemblies. The target audience is researchers and graduate students with a basic knowledge of electromagnetism but with no required experience in numerical methods. Materials hare presented in a graduated sequence to build knowledge, from easy 2D calculations to advanced 3D simulations. All steps are illustrated with examples. The course includes the following sections:

  • Section 1. Introduction
  • Section 2. Installing 2D electric-field software
  • Section 3. First 2D electrostatic solution
  • Section 4. Electrostatic application: building the mesh
  • Section 5. Electrostatic application: calculating and analyzing fields
  • Section 6. Electrostatic application: meshing and accuracy
  • Section 7. Magnetostatic solution: simple coil with boundaries
  • Section 8. Magnetostatic solution: boundary effects and automatic operation
  • Section 9. Magnetostatic solution: the role of steel
  • Section 10. Magnetostatic solution: when steel gets complicated
  • Section 11. Magnetostatic solution: permanent magnets
  • Section 12. Adding 3D software
  • Section 13. 3D electrostatic example: STL input
  • Section 14. 3D electrostatic example: mesh generation and solution
  • Section 15. 3D electrostatic application: getting started
  • Section 16. 3D electrostatic application: extrusions
  • Section 17. 3D electrostatic application: mutual capacitance
  • Section 18. 3D magnetic fields: defining coil currents
  • Section 19. 3D magnetic fields: free-space calculations
  • Section 20. 3D magnetic fields: iron and permanent magnets

The electronic course may be downloaded at no charge at The complete text and examples may be duplicated and distributed for classes and short courses within universities and companies.

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