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Electromagnetics

Altair provides leading electromagnetic (EM) simulation software, widely used in many industries and applications to solve a broad range of electromagnetic problems from static to low and high frequencies.

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Introduction to FEKO
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Altair’s electromagnetics solver suite in HyperWorks, FEKO, is a global leading comprehensive electromagnetic software widely used mainly in the aerospace, defense, automotive, communications, consumer electronics, energy and healthcare industries. The suite includes a set of accurate, powerful and reliable solvers with true hybridization, i.e. solvers can be combined in the same problem to more easily and efficiently solve it. The solvers are parallelized with multi-core CPU and GPU support, working with HPC, as well as Altair’s Cloud Solutions.

FEKO is easy to use and it has an integrated GUI from geometry modelling to results visualization, post-processing and report generation. CAD geometry and mesh import/export modules are included, and meshes created with HyperMesh can be easily imported into FEKO as well. It includes a set of specialized features and a built-in scripting tool for advanced data manipulation and tasks’ automation. Besides FEKO’s built-in optimization techniques, it is integrated into HyperStudy to perform multi-disciplinary design exploration, optimization and stochastic analysis.

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“Our antenna team has been using FEKO since 2003 for antenna design, analysis, performance assessment and large structure scattering effects. Our experience with the software is so positive that we added FEKO to our company strategic tool list.”

–Julie Huffman

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, USA

Antenna Design

FEKO is widely used in the industry for the analysis and design of antennas for industries such as, radio and TV broadcasting, wireless, cellular and communication systems, remote keyless entry systems, tire pressure monitoring systems, satellite positioning and communications, radars, RFID and many others. FEKO’s Method of Moments (MoM) solver is widely used for antenna design but also antennas like reflector antennas, antennas for radars, and antennas with radomes, can all be very efficiently analyzed with FEKO thanks to model decomposition (where equivalent sources are generated and used) together with accelerated full-wave methods like Multi-level Fast Multipole Method (MLFMM), or asymptotic methods like Physical Optics (PO), Ray Launching Geometrical Optics (RL-GO) or Uniform Theory of Diffraction (UTD). Antenna arrays can be also very accurately and efficiently analyzed with FEKO, thanks to features like its Domain Green’s Functions Method (DGFM) method for large and finite arrays.

Currents at 1.5 GHz on a 2x2 microstrip patch antenna array

Antenna Placement

Many techniques exist for the simulation of antennas in free-space. In practice, such antennas are mounted on physical structures, which significantly influence their free-space radiation characteristics. Measurements of the radiation characteristics of an antenna mounted on a large platform are difficult, or even impossible to perform. Therefore, the challenge exists to accurately simulate, the interaction of an antenna with electrically large environments. Over years, FEKO has gained a lot of reputation for antenna placement becoming the standard EM simulation tool for placement of antennas on vehicles, aircraft, satellites, ships, cellular base-stations, towers, buildings and others. MLFMM and the asymptotic solvers in FEKO (PO, RL-GO and UTD), together with model decomposition, make FEKO the ideal tool to solve antenna placement and co-site interference problems on electrically large or very large platforms.

Antenna placement on fighter aircraft and ship (surface currents are shown)

Electromagnetic Compatibility

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) has become a key and sensitive topic for OEMs and their suppliers in many industries. It is not only important to ensure electromagnetic problems will not occur when integrating components and devices in a system, but also to fulfil the related EMC regulations. Since many years ago, FEKO is used for EMC to simulate problems related to Electromagnetic Interferences (EMI) and Electromagnetic Susceptibility or Immunity (EMS). FEKO includes a complete cable-modelling tool to analyze both radiation and irradiation of cables into or from other cables, antennas or devices, which can cause disturbance voltages and currents resulting in malfunctioning the system. FEKO is also used to simulate radiated emissions of Electronic Control Units (ECU) in a system, shielding effectiveness, radiation hazard analysis, electromagnetic pulses (EMP), lightning effects and High Intensity Radiated Fields (HIRF).

Cable modelling interface in FEKO

Scattering and RCS

The scattering properties of an object are related to the spatial distribution of scattered energy when the object is exposed to incident electromagnetic fields. Two typical scenarios where scattering is important are the design of systems to detect objects, like collision detection systems, and the design of objects so to increase or decrease its detectability by a transmitter, like a stealth aircraft. The variety of numerical methods in FEKO, including MLFMM, RL-GO and PO, together with its post-processing capabilities, permits to solve scattering and Radar Cross Section (RCS) problems very efficiently and accurately.

RCS intensity view of a helicopter

Waveguide Components and Microstrip Circuits

Waveguides have been widely used since the first space communications in the defense, aerospace, marine and communications industries, for components like couplers, filters, circulators, isolators, amplifiers and attenuators. FEKO is used to simulate waveguide components, where waveguide port excitations and FEKO’s MoM and Finite Element Method (FEM) solvers are typically used.

Microstrip technology is used to design planar circuits, like couplers, resonators and filters. When circuit trace lengths become comparable to the wavelength, full wave 3D EM analysis is used. The Planar layered Green’s function and the Surface Equivalent Principle (SEP) formulation in FEKO are very well suited to analyze printed microwave circuits.

Simulated fields on a waveguide Delta driven WR-90 magic-T coupler

Bio-Electromagnetics

EM simulation pays a relevant role in the development of biomedical technologies, where simulation offers valuable insight into the interactions of electromagnetic fields inside or in the close proximity to the body. Due to the lossy nature of biological tissue, transmitter design typically focuses on ensuring that sufficient signal is radiated and not lost in the anatomical load, while complying with regulations that limit the specific absorption rate (SAR) and the maximum thermal increase in the body. Typical applications are related to mobile and wireless devices, RF fields inside automobiles, hearing aids, body worn antennas, MRI, implants, hypothermia, and others. FEM, Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) and MoM/FEM methods in FEKO are very suitable for these applications. FEKO includes a database of different human body models.

SAR computation for phantoms wearing personal radios in a vehicle

Matching Circuit Design

An important task for an antenna design engineer is to ensure that technical specifications are met for antenna bandwidth and efficiency. This can be achieved through physical changes to the antenna or by using a matching circuit. Optenni Lab is developed by Optenni Ltd. and available through Altair sales channels. The tool provides fully automatic matching circuit generation and optimization routines. The user only needs to specify the desired frequency range and number of components in the matching circuit after which Optenni Lab provides a choice of optimized matching circuit topologies. Optenni Lab uses accurate inductor and capacitor models from major component manufacturers and a fast tolerance analysis to ensure that the manufactured matching circuits will meet the design criteria, making it an ideal tool to complement FEKO.

Antenna Synthesis Tool

Antenna Magus is an antenna synthesis tool from Magus (Pty) Ltd available through Altair sales channels. It offers a huge searchable collection of antennas, which can be explored to find and design antennas to user specification. Ready-to-run FEKO models can be exported, which makes Antenna Magus an ideal tool to complement FEKO.

Electromechanical Equipment

Electromagnetic analysis is used to design electromechanical equipment, such as electric motors, transformers, busbars, circuit breakers, generators, induction heating devices, reactors, sensors, solenoids, speakers, and transformers among others. A magnetic or electric field appears in such equipment to convert the energy, from electric to mechanic in the case of a motor.

Charge from Fieldscale enables engineers to analyze the electric field of an entire model. Based on the Boundary Element Method, Charge accurately computes the electric potential and field distribution for complex structures.

JMAG from JSOL is a FEA software for electromechanical design. JMAG accurately captures and quickly evaluates complex physical phenomena inside of machines for low-frequency Electromagnetic Field Analysis.

Industrial applications of electromagnetic field simulation with with JMAG

Complementary Solutions

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FEKO FEKO is an electromagnetic analysis software suite allowing users to solve a range of electromagnetic problems in realistic operating environments. Overview Video | Learn More
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HyperMesh High-performance finite element pre-processor to prepare largest models, starting from import of CAD geometry to exporting an analysis run for various disciplines. Overview Video | Learn More
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HyperStudy HyperStudy is a multi-disciplinary design study software that enables exploration and optimization of design performance and robustness. Overview Video | Learn More
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JMAG JMAG is a FEA software for electromechanical design. Overview Video | Learn More

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