SolidWorks Flow Simulation: Parametric Studies

SolidWorks Flow Simulation: Parametric Studies
July 9, 2013

Anyone who has used SolidWorks Simulation for some time probably knows about the Design Study functionality, and maybe even the Optimization functionality found in Simulation Professional. Users of Flow Simulation have been asking for similar functionality, but all we had to work with was a single-parameter optimization study. I can finally say that now with SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2013, we can run multiple what-if scenarios while changing multiple variables!

I was helping a colleague of mine with a Flow Simulation project when I was first exposed to the new parametric study in 2013. I was helping to create a custom Porous Media within the Engineering Database, but I needed some input data like a graph of Pressure Drop vs. Flow Rate:

How was I going to accomplish this? SolidWorks 2013 Flow Simulation Parametric Study to the rescue!

This was the customer’s example:

To make dimensions easier, I modeled this in SolidWorks:

Before I ran this study, I wanted to take a look at this mesh to make sure it was adequate. In particular, I wanted to make sure that the mesh captured the details of the grating that I modeled. I started with the initial mesh slider at “3”. At first glance, it looked as though the perforations were captured:

One thing to be careful about though; the option to “Use CAD Geometry” is turned on by default in the cut plot properties and can be deceiving. This is what my mesh really looked like:

Definitely not what I was expecting! The recommendation is to have “Use CAD Geometry” option turned off.

I needed to refine my mesh, either using the automatic settings (the slider bar) or manual mesh refinement. I opted to use the manual mesh refinement and increase the “small solid feature refinement” level to 3.

Much better! I knew I needed to run several studies, each time increasing the volume flow rate and monitoring the pressure drop across the perforated plate. Until 2013, the only way to do this was to manually change the inlet boundary condition and rerun. With the release of SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2013, I could now use the updated Parametric Study tool! I used the “What-If” setting; there is also a “Goal Optimization” which works similar to past versions.

I chose which variable I wanted to change (this can be either a flow parameter or a dimension) and what values to use, which goal(s) I wanted to monitor, and then ran it.

You can export your results to Excel; I had this as my final output:


My colleague used the raw data for his Porous Media definition and he was good to go. As you can see, the new Parametric Study in SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2013 opens up new possibilities, many of which were available to people using Design Studies in SolidWorks Simulation. Whether you are trying to optimize pipe length or being lazy and batch running multiple what-if scenarios, the new 2013 Parametric Study is the way to go!


July 9, 2013
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September 4, 2013
Hi, I liked a lot what you have written in this post, I think it will help me a lot. However I have a question, I've used the parametric study in the version solidworks 2013 for 32 bits, but for 64 bits, the parametric study doesn't work. Maybe you know the reason or it's something I'm not doing well. Could you help me, thanks.
Wendy Klein
December 9, 2014
Really neat- but how did you set up the study, STEP by STEP. Because I can't get solidworks to add anything to make a parameterized study.
December 22, 2014
Wendy, to give you a couple a couple steps: 1. Create a SolidWorks Flow study like you normally would. 2. Go to Flow Simulation DropDown > Solve > New Parametric Study 3. On the Input Variables Tab, you can either select "Add Simulation Parameter" or "Add Dimension Parameter" 4. You can pick to vary as "Range with Number", "Range with Step", or "Step Around". Double click on the Variation Type item to adjust the numbers. If you need additional help, the best resource would be your SolidWorks reseller.
January 3, 2021
How do i load results of parametric study?
Tim Newton
January 5, 2021
Hi Deepak, You can convert the design points run in the parametric study into conventional flow projects and fully interrogate them. To do this you’ll want to right clicking in the design point column of interest on the Scenario tab (see image above) and choose “create project”, once you’ve done this you can close the parametric study and open the converted project and review the results. There’s more information on the topic in the help file if you search for “Goal Optimization – Scenario Design Points”. Hope this helps! Tim

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