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World Applied Programming, Vol (2), Issue (1), January 2012.

Special section for proceeding of International e-Conference on Computer Engineering (IeCCE) 2012
ISSN: 2222-2510
2011 WAP journal.

Thermal-Electromagnetic Coupled System Simulator Using

Transmission-Line Matrix (TLM)
Hugo Fernando Maia Milan*

Carlos Alberto Tenrio de Carvalho Jnior

Ciro Jos Egoavil

Electrical Engineering Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Electrical Engineering Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Electrical Engineering Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Carolina Yuakari Veludo Watanabe

Ccero Hildenberg de Lima Oliveira

Rogrio Marcos da Silva

Computer Science Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Electrical Engineering Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Electrical Engineering Department

Federal University of Rondnia
Porto Velho, Brazil

Abstract: The advancement of hardware and software to computers makes possible a faster processing. With this
technology, many researchers may develop numerical models about their study to test in computer, saving time and
resources. About numerical simulation in time domain, has the Transmission-Line Matrix (TLM) method that uses an
analogy of transmission lines to solve the differential equation of system in analysis through a relation between the
differential equation problems and arrangement of nodes. There are many nodes scheme to model different physical
parameters, such as electromagnetic, thermal, Pennes equation, particle diffusion, acoustic, elastic solids, SchrdingerMaxwell Equation, deformation, hydraulic systems, fluid mechanics, and so on. This work presents a basic theory about
TLM to electromagnetic, thermal and coupled electromagnetic-thermal system. Furthermore we present the SimEMTher
free software that solves these problems and shows a few applications of simulations in the industry and health.
Key word: TLM Transmission-Line Matrix Coupled Electromagnetic Thermal
The use of the electromagnetic (EM) technology such as Wi-Fi, WiMAX, cellular phones, hyperthermia applications, ablation,
nanotechnology, brings a great advantage for the man. With Wi-Fi or WiMAX it is possible to transfer faster data to computers
without the necessity of many wires, etc. Other EM applications are hyperthermia and ablation (that use the EM to thermal sources
that are scattered with diffusion equation), which has been making possible treat tumor [1] and arrhythmias [2].
In the thermal study, the thermal comfort at humans and animals has been researched. For humans it is important to know the
thermal comfort in vehicles [3] to get well-being in travels, such as in flying. Several researchers have used the numerical
investigation [4] and proposing models for human thermoregulation and thermal sensations [5]. In animals, the major interest is
improving the production, avoiding the animal stress caused by the temperature.
It is known that the Maxwell equations and the diffusion equation are differential. The analytical resolution of differential
equations in complex system is sometimes impossible. However, with the great evolution of computer hardware technology (such
as memory and time processing), the use of numerical methods to approximation results of differential equations in complex system
are becoming more widespread.
The Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) [6-8], Finite Element Method (FEM) [8-10], Moment Method (MoM) [8], Monte
Carlo Method (MCM) [8, 11] and Transmission-Line Matrix Method (TLM) [8, 12-15] are some methods that are used to simulate
EM and diffusion problems.
To development some prototypes, many circuits are tested and rebuilt. That is because during the test phase it is verified if the
system is EM incompatible or if there are regions with large thermal gradient. However, when the circuit is pre-tested in a simulator
of EM, thermal or both, the chance of the prototype to be EM compatible and having a good thermal gradient in many regions is
increased. With this technique, the manufacturer does not expend recourses in creation of many mismatched prototypes and may
save time and money. In simulators of industry applications, it is possible to use a coupled thermal and electromagnetic model to
estimate the thermal effect due to the microwave curing of epoxy [16], to utilize a thermal-electromagnetic coupled system to

Revised in March 2013


Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

estimate temperature increase in power transformers [17], to analyze the temperature behavior in magnetic shields from
electromagnetic losses and thermal radiation with a coupled system [18] and so on.
The investigation of the biological effects caused by EM field, thermal or both, can be better understood using simulation. For
instance, in a surgical using ablation or hyperthermia for treat tumor or cancer, it is possible to develop antennas to transmit the EM
energy in a specific case, because the characteristics of tissue and tumor or cancer dependent on many parameters such as
geometry, death temperature and some others response of body patient. Moreover, in a simulation it is possible to visualize the
scatter of EM field, which is distributed in the body temperature and choose the ideal intensity, frequency and shape for the wave to
improve patient safety. Other characteristics of scientific interest are the direct effects of EM energy in biosystems. In the
temperature analysis it is possible to verify the scatter temperature to investigate damage in tissues and improve technics for
treatment of carcinomas.
For example, in [19] it is analyzed some shapes of hyperthermia applicator using simulation. The temperature distribution
during a ferromagnetic hyperthermia under the influence of blood flow is analyzed by [20] and compared with an experiment (with
good agreement). In the work [21] is analyzed the EM scattering in a head proving of cellular phones for estimate the specific
absorption rate (SAR). Bellia et al. [22] used a model of skin human to investigate the damage in thermal studies. Amri et al. [23]
using a thermal model to investigate the temperature propagation in a human breast with an embedded tumor discovered that the
temperature gradient regulated by the body is changed with the presence of a tumor. In coupled system of electromagnetic-thermal
analysis to biosystem, [24, 25] simulated the induced temperature in a human eye and head in response to an implanted retinal
stimulator. [26] estimated the temperature induced in a pig heart using an microwave ablation antenna with water-cooled and tested
the system in vitro pigs heart with correspondent results and in [27] is simulated an estimation of heating in a duct bile to treatment
of a carcinoma using hyperthermia.
Finally, we can observe that the numerical analysis show interesting results of the real world. With these approaches, the
systems can improve the production process and analysis. In this way, with a faster simulator tool to EM problems, thermal
diffusion and coupled, with general use, easy manipulation and with a minimal knowledge about the theory of the numerical
methods, the ended results may be speed up. This is the beginnings of our simulator, SimEMTher v.1.06b (free software).
This paper is organized as follows: In section I, we show a basic introduction of the benefits of EM and thermal knowledge,
about the methods for simulation and industrial and health simulation application; in section II it is treated about the TLM theory to
EM, thermal and coupled systems. The results are showed in section III that have pictures about SimEMTher. Finally, in section IV
it says the work conclusions.


The optic theory of Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and Christian Huygens (1629-1695) are known as two different points of view
of light and its phenomenon. Newton associated the light to a conception corpuscular. However, Huygens said that the light is a
wave spread by a material medium. Huygens explained the effect of rectilinear propagation, refraction and reflection. Later,
Fresnel improved the Huygens model, contributing to the base of the propagation model and problems dispersal involving
microwaves [28]. Huygens principles are the basic for the TLM theory.
In 1971 [29], Johns published a work that describe the TLM for problems solution in two-dimensional scattering EM. Later,
papers wrote by Johns and Akhtarzad [28] and many researches improved the method, such three-dimensional, one-dimensional,
diakoptics, loss, graded mesh, uses in diffusion equations, algorithms for Laplace and Poisson equations, inverse problems,
thermal diffusion, particle diffusion, mechanic problems, acoustic propagation, elastic solids, deformation models, hydraulic
systems, fluid mechanics, Schrdinger-Maxwell [14, 15, 30], and so on.
The TLM mesh is compound with an arrangement of transmission lines. It uses an analogy with a transmission line mesh to
discovery an isomorphic equation to the node (fig. 01) with differential equations of the problem. Thus, the propagation and
scattering of TLM is done through the transmission line theory.
To program the TLM is necessary a space discretization of medium. This is done through the node that has dimensions
oriented in the three axes (x, y and z). In fig. 01, it can be seen a TLM node. This node is used for two-dimensional EM
scattering in TM mode (Hx, Hy and Ez) [12]. The ports numbered make connection with other TLM node. The physical
representation of the node are two transmission lines, one though x direction and other in y direction. Fig. 02 shows as the
connection with other nodes is made. The ports in fig. 02 are the same that is showed in fig. 01. For example, in node (x,y): the
port 1 is connected with port 3 in node (x,y 1), port 2 is connected with port 4 in node (x 1,y), port 3 is connected with port 1
in node (x,y + 1) and port 4 is connected with port 2 in node (x + 1,y).
The simulation time is discretized too. The correct choice of t is based in the space discretization and the characteristic of
medium. In eq. 05 is showed how choice the appropriate t to EM in TM mode. To thermal simulation is chosen t /10 ( is
the wavelength of source).
At each port, there are an incident (Vi) and reflected (Vr) voltages. In all time-step it is necessary calculate the Vi and Vr for the
processes of connection. The connection of time-step k to k + 1 is made by eq. 01:


Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

Figure 1. Node utilized in TLM for TM propagation without loss. The elements
showed (inductors and capacitors) are inherited of the transmission line theory. The
ports numbered from 1-4 are connected with other node with similar configuration.

( , )=
( , )=
( , )=
( , )=

Figure 2. Nodes connection in TLM method with a mesh of 3x3

nodes. The figure shows how is made the spatial communication
between nodes in the mesh.

( , )+
( , )+
( , )+
( , )+

( , 1)

( 1, )

( , + 1)

( + 1, )

the subscripts of impedances are 1 to impedance of the node (x,y) and 2 to the impedance of adjacent node.
The processes for calculate Vr is done through the scatter matrix:

]=[ ]

The voltages Vr and Vi are in form of vectors of dimensional 4x1 and 5x1 to thermal and EM, respectively. The scatter matrix is
square matrix of dimensional 4 to thermal (eq. 08) and 5 to EM (eq. 07).
The boundaries are treated in a simple way in TLM. Imagine a pulse traveling through a transmission line. In a determined
instant, it sees a discontinuity and part of energy is reflected to the node and other is transmitted. It physical reaction is according
to eq. 03, which shows the reflected voltage equation. The ZB and ZTL mean the impedance of boundary and transmission line,
respectively [12].

Values of ZB are in function of the physical properties of boundary. If ZB = 0, B = -1 in EM is equals electrical wall and heatsink for thermal. In other hand, if ZB = , B = 1 and we have magnetic wall and insulation boundary to EM and thermal,
In fig. 03, it can be seen an example about the TLM mesh. This figure shows a mesh with dimensions (nodes) 10x10 and
detached the node 8x4 as example. The thickest borders are the boundaries of simulation.
The diakoptics techniques consist in divide the mesh in minor meshes. The segmentation reduces the use of memory in
computer and makes possible the parallel simulation. In the software SimEMTher, this mesh is segmented and simulate in
parallel. In the fig. 4 is showed the same mesh that appears in fig. 03, with diakoptics techniques.


Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

Figure 3. TLM mesh with 10x10 nodes. The node at position 8x4 is
highlighted. The darkest lines are the boundary of simulation. The number at
left are the position in axes y and the number at down are the position in axes x.

Figure 4. TLM mesh with 10x10 nodes with diakoptics technic with 3x3
subdomain. The subdomain 3x2 and the node 8x4 are highlighted. This mesh is
the same that appears in fig. 3.

To excite a mesh, is adopted the eq. 4. The constant Fn is used to model the field of stimulation, with 1 n 4.

( , )=

( , )+

( )

A. Transmission-Line Matrix to Electromagnetic

In two-dimensional problems involving EM, there are the propagation in traverse magnetic (TM) mode, with Hx, Hy and Ez, and
traverse electric (TE) mode, with Ex, Ey and Hz. It will be explained about the basic theory of TM mode with loss and
heterogeneous medium. The complete theory about one-, two- and three-dimensional can be found in [12].
For the TM node treatment it is used the model of shunt node [31] which is known as irregular mesh (x y z). The
model of node is shows in fig. 05, where CT = Cx + Cy + CS. The additional port showed in the fig. 5 (port 5) is used for treat
permittivity and conductivity.
The choice of t follows the eq. 05. For choice de appropriate t it is necessary analysis all points in the mesh and select the
minor value, which will be tTLM.

To the connection process it is necessary an additional term in eq. 01. This addition term is necessary to model stub (port 5),
that considers conductivity and permittivity. This additional term is shown in eq. 06.

( , )=

( , )

The scatter matrix to EM is shown in eq. 07. The value of variables that appears in eq. 07 and how to calculate the EM fields
(Hx, Hy and Ez) are showed in table I.





Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

Figure 5. Model of node used in irregular mesh for heterogeneous medium. The ports are the same that appers in fig. 4, with the additional port 5 that is used to
model permissivity and condutivity.



= 2

= 2


= (2




When is the electrical permittivity, is the electric conductivity and is the magnetic permeability.
The input of energy in electromagnetic models of TLM is not a trivial task. To begin, we need to consider how the fields are
calculated and use these derivations how a start point in the modeling of excitations sources. In table II is shown the relation of
field, correction factor and Fn, based in equations showed in table I. It is important take careful in using the equations of table II to
avoid wrong results, however these equations can be used to begin the perfect modeling of energy input in TLM method.
B. Transmission-Line Matrix to Thermal
The use of TLM in thermal is first explored by Johns and de Cogan [14]. For treatment of diffusion equations in twodimensional, has two models of nodes, the link-resistor and the link-line formulation. In the software, it is used the link-line
formulation with regular mesh. The theory of one-, two- and three-dimensional models can be found in [14, 15]. Nodal model to
thermal process is shown in fig. 06.



Correction Factor

Magnetic Field in x direction Hx (A/m)

Magnetic Field in y direction Hy (A/m)

Electric Field Ez (V/m)



Vector of Values of Fn

[1 0 0 0]

[0 0 0 1]

[0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5]

Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

Figure 6. Node model used to thermal process in TLM. The ports are the same that appers in fig. 4.

The connection process in thermal is the same that the eq. 01. The choice of t is depending of the excitation frequency and
need minor that /10. The scatter matrix is shown in eq. 08. The terms that appear in eq. 08 are shown in eq. 09 and to do the link
with the real world.








is the thermal conductivity, is the density and
Temperature in thermal TLM is obtained with eq. 10.


is the specific Heat.

In table III is shown how to excite the thermal TLM.

C. Transmission-Line Matrix to coupled problems
To model coupled system, it is necessary which the size and time-step of EM and thermal TLM mesh are the same. In coupled
system, the EM is used with heat source. The heat source is adapted how is shown in eq. 11.



Knowing the theory of TLM in thermal and EM problems and that the effect of coupled system is adapted with a heat source
coming from EM, it was created software that can connect the simulation to verify what is the temperature induced by the EM
field and the scattering of thermal or EM.


Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012



Correction Factor

Heat Q (W)

= 1

Temperature T (K)

Values Vector of Fn
[0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5]

[0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5]

The main problem to work in simulation is the memory processing. Under this problem, it is developed an algorithm that verify
how many RAM memory is necessary for simulation and how many memory have available for processing to segment the
simulation to work with fragments of simulation. With this fragment, the mesh is segmented in subdomains, with these
subdomains it is possible to realize parallel simulation depending on the condition of the computer.
The entrance variables are those that characterize the medium. It is: mesh size, nodal size, source, time-steps, relative
permittivity, electrical conductivity (/m), relative permeability, density (kg/m), specific heat (J/(kg.K)), thermal conductivity
(W/(m.K)) and initial iemperature (K). The simplified flow chart of the software (SimEMTher v.1.06b) is shown in fig. 7.
Some pictures of the software SimEMTher v.1.06b are shown in fig. 8, 9, 10 and 11. In fig. 8, is showed the Initial Screen of
the software, which have link for all graphic interfaces and allow the user insert the quantity of time-step and chose the language
(English or Portuguese). The fig. 9 shows the Source Editor. In the source editor it is possible input all fields of interest (Hx, Hy, Ez
and heat) in the mesh with two standard antenna shapes (circular and rectangular) and four stimulation functions (sinusoidal,
Gaussian, pulse and general wave).
Fig. 10 shows the graphic interface Simulate, which allows the user to select the field to simulate and save with the idea of
keep memory and increase speed. In fig. 11 is showed the interface Results that turns possible visualize the simulate fields in
interface Simulate. It is possible visualize nine forms of results (with dynamic and static results).

Figure 7. Simplified flow chart of the free software SimEMTher v.1.06b.


Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

Figure 8. Initial Screen. In this screen is possible chosen the language and
the time-step of simulation.

Figure 9. Source Editor of SimEMTher v.1.06b. This interface allow the user
input the fields of interest in the mesh.

Figure 10. Interface Simulte of SimEMTher v. 1.06b. In this interface, the

user chosen the fields to simulation and save.

Figure 11. Picture of the interface Results. This interface allow the user to chose
one in nine forms of results visualization.



It was seen in section I the importance of electromagnetic and thermal fields in the humans life. It is showed that the domain
of EM technology has bringing improvement in industrial applications (curing epoxy [16] and analysis in power transformers
[17]) and health (hyperthermia [20] and ablation [27]).
Some thermal effects are precisely connected with EM energy. How the solution of complex systems in analytical form is,
some time, impossible, the way to study this system is with numerical simulation. This decision make possible to visualize fields
in many shapes and allows verify the transient state of system. The principal difficult in work with numerical simulation is
hardware and software limitation. However, these problems can be avoided with some techniques. Diakoptic technique allows
alleviating the RAM memory.
Based with these circumstances, we develop software free with the purpose of speed up the researches. The SimEMTher is the
software that allows the user simulates EM, thermal and coupled systems in a simple way making possible the use of numerical
techniques to increase the human knowledge.

Hugo Fernando Maia Milan et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (2), No (1), January 2012

The authors would like to thanks for National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CPNq) of Brazil for your
financial support.



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