Physics Fun with Jamie: Setting Up a Thermal Analysis

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated June 2, 2023


Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. A thermal study in SOLIDWORKS FEA is an important tool for simulating and optimizing the thermal behavior of a product or part. It allows designers to evaluate the performance of a product or part in different thermal conditions, and optimize its thermal behavior. Here are some steps to follow when setting up a thermal study in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Define the model: Define the 3D model of the product or part you want to simulate. This can be done in SOLIDWORKS or imported from other CAD software.
  2. Assign the material properties: Assign the appropriate material properties to the model. The material properties should be defined accurately to ensure accurate results.
  3. Define the boundary conditions: Define the boundary conditions that the model will experience in its operating environment. This can include temperature, heat flux, or convective heat transfer coefficients.
  4. Generate the mesh: Generate the mesh for the model. The mesh size and type should be selected based on the complexity of the model and the accuracy required.
  5. Select the analysis type: Choose the thermal analysis type based on the intended use of the product. The analysis type can be steady-state or transient.
  6. Define the heat sources: Define the heat sources that are present in the system. This can include heat generation from electrical components, friction, or radiation.
  7. Set the solver options: Set the solver options in the SOLIDWORKS FEA menu, including convergence criteria, maximum iterations, and other options.
  8. Run the analysis: Run the thermal analysis and review the results. SOLIDWORKS FEA provides graphical representations of the results, including temperature contours, heat flux, and other thermal data.
  9. Evaluate the results: Evaluate the results by comparing the temperature distribution and heat transfer data with the design requirements.
  10. Refine the model: Refine the model by adjusting the geometry, material properties, or boundary conditions, and re-run the analysis.
  11. Finalize the design: Finalize the design and prepare the model for manufacturing, ensuring that the thermal behavior of the product or part meets the design requirements.

In conclusion, setting up a thermal study in SOLIDWORKS FEA is critical in evaluating the thermal behavior of a product or part. By following these steps, you can ensure that your thermal study is accurate, efficient, and effective in optimizing the thermal performance of your design.

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Jamie Hill, CSWE

Jamie is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert working in the Javelin Oakville, Ontario, Canada office.