Please accept our thanks and congratulations for your very interesting work which I am sure are having a great positive impact in our society.” — from Roberto Quevedo, Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias, INVOLCAN, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

By Carmen Trudell, University of Virginia

What is it?

Based on computational physics research ([1], [2], [3]), Energy2D is an interactive, visual multiphysics simulation program that models all three modes of heat transfer—conduction, convection, and radiation, and their coupling with particle dynamics. Energy2D runs very quickly on most computers and eliminates the switches among preprocessors, solvers, and postprocessors typically needed to perform computational fluid dynamics simulations. It allows you to design "computational experiments" to test a scientific hypothesis or solve an engineering problem without resorting to complex mathematics.

In addition to heat transfer, work is also underway to incorporate other types of energy transformations (e.g., phase changes and chemical reactions through the Stefan condition), to support multiple types of fluids (e.g., air and water), and to provide sensor interfaces for creating mixed-reality applications.

What is the goal?

The ultimate goal of Energy2D is a versatile computer-aided engineering (CAE) system for exploring and learning science and engineering through virtual experimentation, investigation, and design. Therefore, the capability of creating complex, accurate scientific simulations of natural phenonmena and engineering problems is the most important goal of Energy2D. Realizing that many existing engineering simulation programs are too difficult to use by novices, our main objective is to rethink a CAE system that empowers, rather than frustrating, the majority of users.

An IR image of a heated model house with a ceiling An IR image of a heated model house without a ceiling
An Energy2D simulation of a heated house with a ceiling An Energy2D simulation of a heated house without a ceiling

How well does it model reality?

The conduction part of Energy2D is highly accurate, but the convection and radiation parts are not 100% accurate. Hence, in cases that involve convection and radiation, Energy2D results should be considered as qualitative. The pictures to the right show a comparison of the results of Energy2D simulations with images from infrared (IR) thermography for a simple model house. The thermal patterns predicted by Energy2D roughly match those from an IR camera.

How to cite it?

Charles Xie, Interactive Heat Transfer Simulations for Everyone, The Physics Teacher, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp. 237-240, 2012.

How many papers have used it?

The following is a list of published scientific papers that have involved the application of Energy2D (not just a citation):

  1. Javier G. Monroy & Javier Gonzalez-Jimenez, Gas Classification in Motion: An Experimental Analysis, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Volume 240, pp 1205-1215, 2017
  2. E. Rozos, I. Tsoukalas, & C. Makropoulos, Turning Black into Green: Ecosystem Services from Treated Wastewater, 13th IWA Specialized Conference on Small Water and Wastewater Systems, Athens, Greece, 2016
  3. W. Taylor Shoulders, Richard Locke, & Romain M. Gaume, Elastic Airtight Container for the Compaction of Air-Sensitive Materials, Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume 87, 063908, 2016
  4. Zachary R. Adam, Temperature Oscillations near Natural Nuclear Reactor Cores and the Potential for Prebiotic Oligomer Synthesis, Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 171-187, 2016
  5. Jiarui Chen, Shuyu Qin, Xinglong Wu, & Paul K Chu, Morphology and Pattern Control of Diphenylalanine Self-Assembly via Evaporative Dewetting, ACS Nano, Volume 10, No. 1, pp 832-838, 2016
  6. Atanas Vasilev, Geothermal Evolution of Gas Hydrate Deposits: Bulgarian Exclusive Economic Zone in the Black Sea, Comptes rendus de l‘Académie bulgare des Sciences, Volume 68, No. 9, pp 1135-1144, 2015
  7. Pedro A. Hernández, et al., Magma Emission Rates from Shallow Submarine Eruptions Using Airborne Thermal Imaging, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 154, pp 219-225, November 2014

How many books have recommended it?

The following is a list of books that have recommended Energy2D:

  1. Franco Landriscina, Simulation and Learning: A Model-Centered Approach, Springer, 2013
  2. Jiyuan Tu, Guan Heng Yeoh, and Chaoqun Liu, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Second Edition: A Practical Approach, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012

What people are saying about it?

Speaking of the thermo-electric analogy being presented in this work, it is worth mentioning the freely downloadable Java app Energy2D, which permits the numerical/interactive solution of a basically unlimited series of simulations concerning heat transfer. As such, this app can also be seen as an almost perfect and very customizable numerical engine for treating electrostatic problems of various assortment.” — from Stefano Oss & Giuliano Zendri, European Journal of Physics

Thank you for your absolutely great app which helps me a lot for visualizing my lecture in thermodynamics. It is also very nice to see that three platforms are supported and every single one is free to use. That is just awesome and I want to say thank you for all users. I do not know how many messages of this type you are receiving.” — from Martin Weise, Austria

In gearing up to teach a course called Building Science this semester, I somehow stumbled across your program Energy2D and Energy3D. I was really impressed by how simple and easy these tools were and I'm definitely going to integrate them into some portion of my lectures.”— Prof. Brent Stephens, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA

I am currently involved in renewable energy related research activities and teaching. I have downloaded and demonstrating Energy2D for my heat transfer course. It is really a very useful tool.”— Dr. Mazharul Islam, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia

Today during the lunch break a little simulated comparison fan in the suction and blowing operation collector here about 50x70 cm and fan with 2 meters / second. [The result] is confirmed by the experiences of several users: pressure losses and less volume of air in the blowing operation.” (Link to the source)

...what was really interesting, was that when I continued playing with the simulator, sometimes my convection examples would split into two cycling air cells, one above and to the left, one below and to the right, with the hot air blasting right for the cold source, rather than rising. That's really interesting, because I've experienced this when using smoke demonstrations in class, and the fact that the simulator can capture that behavior shows how accurate this teaching tool actually is.” (Link to the source)

...this free software is basic, yet you can modify properties and all, the desktop download gives better results and the pages have a choice of practical setups to download and use that are very practical” (Link to the source)


Developed by Charles Xie. © 2010- The Concord Consortium.

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