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Development of Virtual Training Simulators with Modelica

Carla Martin-Villalba, Alfonso Urquia and Sebastian Dormido

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


Virtual training simulators, frequently called virtual-labs, are effective educational tools. Virtual-labs used in engineering education are frequently based on the interactive simulation of DAE-hybrid models, i.e., models composed of algebraic and differential equations, and discrete-time events. Modelica is an object-oriented modeling language intended to describe this type of models. A methodology and a new software tool for developing virtual-labs based on DAE-hybrid models using Modelica are presented. The methodology allows to adapt any Modelica model for use in interactive simulations. The software tool is a Modelica library, named Interactive, that facilitates the description of the virtual-lab view (i.e., the graphic user-to-model interactive interface) and the model-to-view communication. Interactive contains a set of ready-to-useModelica models of visual interactive elements, including containers, animated 3D geometric shapes and interactive controls. The virtual-lab, which is completely described in Modelica language, is translated into executable code using the Dymola modeling environment. Interactive’s components are C++ code generators that, when the virtual-lab is executed, automatically generate the C++ code describing the virtual-lab view and the bidirectional model-to-view communication. This generated C++ code uses the VTK and Qt libraries. The proposed approach is illustrated by means of an example: the development of the virtual-lab of a doublepipe heat exchanger with manual and PID control.

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