Geoscience study program places a strong emphasis on analytical reasoning in all courses, initiate students to finite element modeling of Earth science processes and give them hands-on experience with geophysical and geological fieldwork and their corresponding data processing and analysis methods.
One of the interesting courses at UFAZ geoscience graduate program is the course of Finite Elements, which is about basic methods of applied mathematics in Earth Science.
On March 19, 2021, UFAZ first-year master students of Geosciences took part in the COMSOL examination from the course entitled "Finite element modelling for mechanical and thermal systems".
About the course: Finite element modelling for mechanical and thermal systems is the combination of analytical and experimental methods in physics and mechanics applied to geoscience. A part of the courses covers how to pose a problem in Partial Differential Equations terms. Another part covers basic analytical and numerical methods to solve these problems. Eventually, one of the basic methods to solve numerically partial differential equations is by the Finite Element Method. Basics of this method, as well as the versatile and powerful software incorporating most classical Finite Element Methods resolution, and the visualization of the results, COMSOL, is also introduced during the course. A walkthrough on how to set the problems, solve the problem, exploit the solutions, is provided to the students. This software is one of the most standard ones used in engineering communities. The students learn typical geoscience problems, the basic physics, math, numerical methods they develop themselves in python, and the use of this integrated software.
About the software: COMSOL is a finite element software that allows for simulating multi-physical processes. In geoscience, COMSOL can be used in a wide range of applications that involve flow, mass and heat transfer in aquifers and geological reservoirs. These applications cover petroleum reservoir, geothermal energy, CO2 geological sequestration and nuclear waste storage. COMSOL can be also used in environmental applications such as aquifers management, seawater intrusion, and groundwater protection in oil and gas Production. In research studies, COMSOL can be used as a tool to understand physical processes and to validate experimental data. In practical studies, it can be used as a tool for designing systems, optimizing systems operation and developing predictive studies.
This course was taught by Renaud Toussain, Director of Research at CNRS (Research Professor) in the Experimental Geophysics group at ITES (Institute for Earth and Environment Strasbourg) and Fahs Marwan, an Associate professor at the university of Strasbourg (National School of Water and Environmental Engineering. Prof. Toussain has been teaching geophysics, physics and applied math in geophysics at all undergraduate and graduate levels, while Prof. Marwan’s teaching area includes hydrogeology, multi-physics simulation and numerical tools in geoscience.