Supplementing the testing process with EM simulation

26th September 2013
Nat Bowers

In many cases, simulating the behavior of the model of a device is cheaper and faster than building a prototype and testing it in the lab. If a problem appears in a prototype this may require a full design iteration including the building of a new prototype. A virtual model can be adjusted more easily, and parameterization and optimization tools can make these adjustments automatically. CST STUDIO SUITE can replicate common measurements such as cylinder scans, time domain reflectometry, and eye diagrams.

As engineers know, a tiny detail like a seam, a gap or a wire can make a big difference to the compliance of a device. Engineers working with complex cables or cable harnesses can use hybrid cable simulation in CST CABLE STUDIO to model the interaction between fields in these cables and the rest of the device, using gold-standard full transient bidirectional coupling to investigate crosstalk, emissions and the effect of shielding. Simulation with compact models meanwhile allows components such as vents and seams to be replaced with easier-to-calculate analytical models validated through measurement.

Some environments are difficult to perform measurements in: one obvious example is measuring fields inside the human body. Here, EM simulation using voxel models is especially useful. Coupled EM/thermal multiphysics simulation with CST MICROWAVE STUDIO and CST MPHYSICS STUDIO can calculate the heating effect of electromagnetic fields and provide further reassurance that a design will remain within safety guidelines. Measurement allows simulations to be calibrated and validated, by comparing the calculated fields inside a phantom with the actual measured fields seen in the lab.

Measurement has the final say on whether a device meets specifications and regulations such as EMC or exposure, but combining simulation and measurement offers distinct advantages in product development. Simulation helps to develop devices quickly by allowing the engineer to visualize and understand the root causes of problems, and can replicate measurements quickly. Measurement can validate simulation, and provide real parameters to improve the accuracy of the calculation.

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