Creation of 3D Custom ANSYS Elements for Studying the Multi-Physics of Quench Prevention in Superconducting Magnets

 CMMRL Research by:

Kate Edwards

Figure: Nodal temperature values for a quench propagation test using the 3D Custom ANSYS Thermal Element.

Quench is a failure of a superconducting magnet where the superconducting material returns to a resistive state due. This occurs when the material reaches either its critical current, magnetic field, or temperature due to large magnetic fields or defects in the magnet. Local quenches cause a chain reaction throughout the magnet, rapidly causing the entire coil to become resistive – potentially leading to fatal damages to the magnet. Therefore, quench protection is often built into the magnet. Many different quench protection systems exist, and it is important to understand how they will react to a quench and how well they can protect the magnet. To better understand and design these systems, computational simulations become an important tool.

ANSYS includes the capability for users to create their own element with code that defines the element’s properties and the generation of its finite element matrices. After compiling the element with ANSYS, all other aspects of the software – including geometry and mesh generation, solving, and post-processing – are compatible with the element. Two dimensional elements – one thermal and one electromagnetic – have already been developed, extending the capabilities for simulation of superconducting magnets to include the effects of interfilament coupling currants, quench, and temperature and magnetic field dependent properties. They can also be coupled with each other using the ANSYS Multi-field solver [1].

My project involves developing similar thermal and electromagnetic elements in 3D, as well as updating both dimensions to include a surface heat flux load and additional material property options. Modeling superconductors in three dimensions allows for more accurate modeling of the winding superconducting coil and can capture unsymmetric phenomenon.

[1] L. Brouwer, D. Arbelaez, B. Auchmann, L. Bortot, and E. Stubberud, “User Defined Elements in ANSYS for 2D Multiphysics Modeling of Superconducting Magnets,” 2019, submitted to Superconductor Science and Technology.