SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation: Heat Transfer

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation: Heat Transfer
August 18, 2014

In this video and blog, we take a look at a conjugate heat transfer problem with both convection and conduction using SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation.

Here are the steps used to set up the analysis.

Flow Simulation is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool that operates directly inside of SOLIDWORKS. You’ll need both SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation installed, with the Flow Simulation add-in enabled, to follow along with this guide.

Conjugate heat transfer - cold plate

The first step is to get the geometry ready. For this cold plate, lids are needed at both ends of the cooling tube. This allows the inside of the tube to be defined as a separate internal fluid volume.

Conjugate heat transfer - cooling tube

Next, I’ll create the Flow Simulation project using the Wizard. From the Flow Simulation menu, I’ll select Project, Wizard. I’ll name the project “Conjugate Heat Transfer” and choose to use the current configuration.

Conjugate heat transfer - project wizard

I’ll set my unit system as SI (m-kg-s) and change the unit for temperature to °C.

Conjugate heat transfer - unit system

The analysis type is External because we want to consider the air surrounding the model. I’ll turn on Heat conduction in solids and Gravity, and confirm that Y component -9.81 m/s^2 is the correct direction and value for this analysis.

Conjugate heat transfer - analysis type

Air (Gases) and Refrigerant R-123 (Real Gases) are pre-defined and can be added as the project fluids. I’ll make sure that the checkboxes are set so that Air (Gases) is the Default Fluid.

Conjugate heat transfer - default fluid

Aluminum is pre-defined under Metals and can be set as the default solid.

Conjugate heat transfer - default solid

I can accept the default value of 0 micrometer for Roughness and assume smooth walls.

Conjugate heat transfer - Wall conditions

And I’ll accept the default values for the initial conditions.

Conjugate heat transfer - initial and ambient conditions

I’ll keep the Result resolution relatively low to start with and set it to 3, and I’ll enter 0.007874 m for the Minimum gap size and 0.000889 m for the Minimum wall thickness, which correspond to the inner diameter and thickness of the tube. I’ll click Finish and work my way down the Flow Simulation analysis tree.

Conjugate heat transfer - results and geometry resolution

The automatically generated computational domain is bit larger than I need so I’ll right-click Computational Domain, select Edit Definition, and enter the following values.

Conjugate heat transfer - computational domain

A fluid subdomain needs to be defined to set the fluid inside the tube as the refrigerant. I’ll right-click Fluid Subdomains and select Insert Fluid Subdomain. I’ll select an internal face of the tube, set the checkbox next to Refrigerant R-123 (Real Gases), and enter 101325 Pa and -5 °C for the Thermodynamic Parameters.

Conjugate heat transfer - fluid subdomain

Next up are the boundary conditions. I’ll right-click Boundary Conditions and select Insert Boundary Condition. I’ll select the inner face of the inlet lid and define an Inlet Mass Flow with the parameters shown below.

Conjugate heat transfer - boundary condition

And I’ll insert another boundary condition on the inner face of the outlet lid and define a Static Pressure as shown below.

Conjugate heat transfer - boundary condition static

A surface source can be used to generate heat at the top of the plate. From the Flow Simulation menu, I’ll select Insert, Surface Source. I’ll select the top surface of the plate and enter a Heat Generation Rate of 200 W.

Conjugate heat transfer - surface source

The last thing to do before running the project is to define the goals. I’ll right-click Goals, select Insert Global Goals, and select the Max checkboxes for the Temperature (Fluid) and Temperature (Solid).

And that’s it. The project is ready to run. I’ll right-click the project name, select Run, ensure that the checkbox for Solve is selected, and click the Run button. This initial setup is a good start for this problem, but it’s of course a great idea to refine the setup after running the analysis and taking a look at the results.

Conjugate heat transfer - run

Once the analysis is complete, there are many ways to investigate the results. As an example, I’ll create a cut plot to view the temperature of the coolant in the tube. I’ll right-click Cut Plots and select Insert. I’ll set my plot halfway through the tube, 0.0275 m above the Top Plane, and choose to show Temperature Contours.

Conjugate heat transfer - cut plot

The plot shows that the coolant rises from its initial temperature of -5 °C to a maximum of about 80 °C by the end of the tube.

Conjugate heat transfer - cut plot 1: contours

Better performance, especially at the left half of the cold plate, could likely be achieved by reducing the temperature increase of the coolant, so increasing the flow rate through the tube might be a good idea. SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation allows for changes to the design and analysis to be cycled through at the same time and it shouldn't be too long before an improved cold plate is nailed down.

I hope you found this conjugate heat transfer example useful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and let us know.

August 18, 2014
Did you like this post?
Antonio Torchia .
July 24, 2015
Hello. I have to do a similar simulation, but with solar radiation. It's a box of aluminium, with a glass on top. In the box there is only air! Do you know how I can do it? Thank you very much!
Hyunjoo Hwang
October 29, 2015
Hi, SW Expert !!! I am a SolidWorks users in Korea. According to your lesson and I study to solidworks flow simulation. I want to insert, and the temperature (solid) does not find to goals from checkbox. Tell us what to do. Note that I am using solidworks 2015. Thanks for your good job. from korea
Terence Woo
November 19, 2015
Sorry for the very slow response. It appears our comment alert system hasn’t been working. Antonio, you can definitely include solar radiation. In your analysis settings, simply enable the “Radiation” option and then enable the “Solar radiation” option. You can define solar radiation by your location on the earth and time, direction and intensity, or azimuth and altitude. Check out the Flow Simulation tutorials for more tips on setting up radiation. Hyunjoo, if I understand your question correctly, you’re not seeing options for “Temperature (Solid)” when creating goals. Please ensure that you have enabled “Heat conduction in solids” in your analysis settings. The “Temperature (Solid)” options are only available when running a thermal study.
Andrés ibañe
November 26, 2015
Hello, I'm new in flow simulation. I'm trying to simulate an assembly with a duct and a heat sink. The heat sink is inserted in the duct by the part of the fins in order to capture the heat flow through the duct. This is an internal analysis with default outer wall condition (heat transfer coefficient =7w/m2K). The heat sink is aluminium and de duct Aisi 305. When I simulate it, the temperature through de heat sink is uniform. It means, the internal temperature is 350°, the fins are at 230 approximately and the Base is 229. How can I fixed it? Best regards
Terence Woo
December 3, 2015
Andrés, this sounds a bit too detailed to handle through comments. If you're a Hawk Ridge Systems customer, please give us a call at 877.266.4469 and we can help you out with your analysis. Otherwise, please get in touch with your local VAR.
Xiao Fen
March 25, 2016
Hi Mr Terence I'm currently working on my Final Year Project (FYP) for my bachelor. Im facing one problem that particles in fluidized bed suppose have different temperature after being added heat and also contributed by collision of the particles. Somehow, my temperature of the particles remain same temperature. How can I solve this problem? Thank you in advance :)
Terence Woo
March 29, 2016
Xiao Fen, you should be able to see a change in the temperature of your particles provided that they are a different temperature from the fluid when injected. The initial particle temperature can be defined either as an absolute value or relative to the temperature of the fluid. Also, make sure that you are looking at a plot of Particle Temperature when post-processing. Beyond these general tips, it's hard to advise on your particular analysis without more details. If you’re a Hawk Ridge Systems customer, please give us a call at 877.266.4469 and we can help you out with your analysis. Otherwise, please get in touch with your local reseller.
June 22, 2018
Hey My problem is a solar dish concentrate reflects radaiton of sun to coil with internal flow the temperature dose not raise and there is no radaiton
Anurag Tiwari
July 11, 2019
Hello Terence, Thanks for the very elaborate way of setting up the problem and solving it. It is really helpful, specially for the first time users. I would like to ask about a simple problem of heat transfer. We have a pipe which (around 80 mm long) and it is connected to another body at one end. at the other end we need to do welding. We would like to simulate this using solidworks and would like to see the temperature profile with time. This is needed to insure that due to welding, the other end of the pipe doesnt become too hot so that the components might fail. Most important is to know the time in which the temperaure will become too high (say a value) that isnt acceptable. any help is deeply appreciated.
Terence Woo
July 18, 2019
Anurag, that sounds like a good application for some thermal analysis. It's hard to advise on any specific setup details through blog comments through. If you're interested in getting some more in-depth help, please give us a call and our analysis services team would be happy to discuss.
October 13, 2020
HELLO Dear sir , i have some questions about flow simulation,i am using Solidworks 2020,and also i did a solver part.after that, i check out different plots. my question is this after finish the solver window i can check different iteration,and also can you tell me after this all procedure i can see numaricle results and. thanks for understanding. Regards. Azeem

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