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  • SolidWorks Simulation: Anyone used it for thermal modelling?

    Discussion in 'SolidWorks' started by GarethW, Jun 23, 2011.

    1. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      We're looking into the possibility of getting one of the SolidWorks Simulation packages to do some thermal modelling. I have narrowed it down to either "SolidWorks Simulation Professional" or "SolidWorks Flow Simulation". Both simulate heating & cooling, but the more expensive option (Flow Simulation) also does fluid flow simulation. Apparently this is great for the simulation of forced convection. On the other hand, "Professional", although it only has the "heating & cooling" thernal package has lots of rather juicy looking mechanical simulators which may or may not be handy. Oh, and it's half the price (more like £6K setup with £1.5K per pear to run.)

      I basically want to model a finned outdoor electronics enclosure that sits at the top of a scaffold pole. I want to work out how hot some of the PCB components inside are going to get. It would be nice to know what cooling effects air currents and wind have, but we design for absolute worst-case: completely still air.

      Does anyone have any suggestion on which package would be the most suitable? Anyone used these packages. Did they give you meaningful results? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Here's a feature comparison chart for the various options (taken from the SW website here)
      [​IMG]
       
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    3. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      Re: SolidWorks Simulation: Anyone used it for thermal modell

      Hi Gareth,

      If your device is going to be a box (nearly enclosed) the outside flows should not be simulated. If you think that the free space inside the enclosure is not big enough that a walls condition have to be taken into account then you will hve to simulate the interaction btw the walls and the electronic device as you probably know. Instead of doing complicated assumption with the outside flow ard the box I would rather put a periodic wall temp condition representing the external influences and see how my internal temp is building up.

      In this conditions (steady flow) you don't need any "Flow Simulation" . On the contrary if simulating the external flows around the box to improve the cooling of the device is needed, you'll really need it.

      SIMulation series is more dedicated to mech design IMHO although the Flows Module are great, easy to use and being fully integrated it really helps you to deliver quick solutions. But frankly DS has toped SW in term of price (if you consider the cumulative price of each modules :|)
       
    4. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Re: SolidWorks Simulation: Anyone used it for thermal modell

      Hi. Thanks for the help. I suppose that the enclosure, basically being a large heatsink, is getting it heat out through convection primarily rather than any other mechanism. Therefore are you saying that "Professional" will only simulate basic conduction? I think that would probably be no good to me then. The internal PCB does contact the inside of the enclosure, but only around it's edges. So, I think the transfer mechanism to the enclosure is quite complex - convection, conduction and radiation all playing a part. I'll try to post a sketch to show things more clearly....
       
    5. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      Re: SolidWorks Simulation: Anyone used it for thermal modell

      Hi,

      yes It wld be nice to hve a sketch. I might even hve time to run a model trough a short demo (although there is plenty of nice video on Youtube).
       

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