A physical model is a simplified material representation, usually on a reduced scale, of an object or phenomenon that needs to investigated.
The model can be used to simulate the physical conditions involved (temperature, waves, speed etc.) and to predict the particular constraints of the situation. These constraints can be taken into account and tested, and solutions implemented before undertaking the final steps of a project.
Physical models are widely used in fields involving geometry, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics: urban development, naval construction, aeronautics etc.
A physical model used to simulate the environmental conditions at a methane terminal. © Conseil national de recherches du Canada