By Sridhar Ravikoti
Multiscale modeling is a very descriptive name. It refers to modeling a component or a system at different scales simultaneously so you get information at minute scales without the necessary cost of modeling everything at a fine resolution. Well, what does that mean? Imagine a part that is made of woven composite material as typical in portions of airplane fuselage or wings, race cars chassis, wind turbines, or sporting goods. In analyzing the full system for structural performance, to what extent is the composite part modeled? As you can see in the image below, there are multiple scales at which the composite part can be represented going down from a simple laminate all the way to its constituents. The smaller the scale of modeling, the more detailed information is available for proper assessment, but it comes at a steep cost to capture at that scale for a large system analysis – often times just not feasible computationally. Multiscale modeling enables capturing details at smaller scales efficiently and using that information to provide a better assessment of performance and failure modes of the part or system that may be modeled at a coarser level in the macro model.