Thermal Structural Analysis
Determine thermal effects on a given design—or the impact of design changes on component temperatures—using fast, efficient thermal structural analysis with SolidWorks Simulation.
Tightly integrated with SolidWorks CAD, thermal structural analysis using SolidWorks Simulation can be a regular part of your design process—reducing the need for costly prototypes, eliminating rework and delays, and saving time and development costs.
Thermal Structural Analysis Overview
Thermal structural analysis is the application of the finite element method to calculate the temperature distribution within a solid structure, which is due to the thermal inputs (heat loads), outputs (heat loss), and thermal barriers (thermal contact resistance) in your design. Thermal structural analysis solves the conjugate heat transfer problem with the simulation calculation of thermal conduction, convection, and radiation.
Two methods of heat transfer—convection and radiation—are applied as boundary conditions in thermal structural analysis. Both convection (set by a surface film coefficient) and radiation (surface emissivity) can emit and receive thermal energy to and from the environment, but only radiation transfers thermal energy between disconnected bodies in the assembly.
Radiation—In order to calculate the effect of heat leaving one component and being transported by a moving fluid to another component, a SolidWorks Simulation thermal fluid analysis must be carried out, as the fluid impact has to be calculated.
Convection—Overcome the difficulty of determining accurate convection surface film coefficients for complex geometries as SolidWorks Simulation simply imports accurate film coefficients from SolidWorks Flow Simulation to calculate a more accurate thermal structural analysis.
SolidWorks Simulation calculates either the steady state or transient temperature fields due to:
- Applied fixed or initial temperatures
- Heat power/flux input or outputs
- Surface convection rates
- Radiation—removing heat from the systems
- Thermal contact resistance between components
With the temperature field calculated, thermal stresses can be easily calculated, to ensure correct product performance and safety.