Simulation Tech Tip: Hidden Gems in 2012

There have been several sneaky enhancements to SolidWorks Flow Simulation in the 2012 release. Even some hidden gems that have appeared in Service Pack 1 and 2, which was just released recently.

Enhanced Meshing Technology in SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 SP0: 

New meshing technology improves the CAD geometry representation by the computational mesh. As a result, the accuracy of calculation is improved with a fewer number of cells. This means for the users an improvement of the accuracy of the solution with less cells required to capture geometry meaning less time to solve it.  How does this enhanced Meshing technology work?

SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 Technical Reference

Let’s step back a second and explain how the SolidWorks Flow Simulation meshing tools actually work. I am going to give a shout out to the Flow Simulation Technical Reference that is installed as a PDF file with every license of the software. Check it out in the following path “C:\Program Files\SolidWorks Corp\SolidWorks Flow Simulation\lang\english\Docs”

But in essence, Flow Simulation creates a computational mesh that is rectangular. This mesh of rectangular cells called the computational domain creates “cells” that lie inside, outside or both inside and outside the SolidWorks model depending upon the type of analysis selected. The boundary between the solid model and where the fluid region lies is the solid/fluid interface, or boundary layer.




The following image shows a zoomed in representation of a SolidWorks model’s edge.

SolidWorks flow simulation new mesh technology

SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 new mesh technology alternative view





In the 2012 release, starting at Service Pack 0, the advanced Geometry Resolution technology uses points on real CAD edge – here points C1 and C2 to build two faces A1-C1-C2-A2 and B1-C1-C2-B2 which correspond to two CAD faces. What does this mean to you? Less time to solve the problem to get more accurate results.  Less mesh refinement needs to occur as the cell map more directly to the SolidWorks model. In the Ball Valve example that is part of the Flow Simulation Training class that CAPINC offers, there is a 20% improvement to the results from physical test data with the default cell size.

Better Solution Adaptive Meshing Technology in Flow Simulation 2012 SP1: 

A solution-adaptive mesh allows the computational mesh to change resolution during the calculation in regions where better results are required. It splits the mesh cells in the high-gradient flow regions for a better accuracy of the solution. The new method in 2012 SP1 considers each gradient area separately for a better refinement strategy. This new method creates a more uniform mesh which is good for the solver and leads to a better accuracy.

Improved Multi-Core Performance in SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 SP0: 

It’s hard to purchase a computer nowadays without at least a dual core setup. Most systems now have even more. SolidWorks Flow Simulation has been taking advantage of multi-core for many releases now, even working on computers over the network to spawn jobs on other CPUs. You have a choice to select how many CPUs to use for a simulation, you just need to open the Run dialog box and make a selection in the Use CPU(s) list.

With 2012 release, SolidWorks Flow Simulation even better supports additional CPUs with higher efficiency than ever before.

Fan Boundary Conditions in Flow 2012 SP2: 

A Fan is a type of flow boundary condition, considered as an ideal device creating a Volume (or Mass) flow rate depending on the difference between the inlet and outlet pressures averaged over the selected face. SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 SP2 offers an improved Fan model for a more accurate and more robust simulation of the fans, mainly for simulations when you have several fans installed.

The main advantage of the new fan technology is the fan curve calculation now solves at every iteration. This leads to a better convergence in simulation with multiple fans.

Other Flow Simulation Enhancements recently added in SP0:

  • The Tracer Study in the Flow Simulation HVAC module can be used to easily detect and visualize gas concentrations and improve ventilation.
  • Draught Rate (DR) : new comfort parameter represents a percentage of people feeling discomfort by draught (Identified in ISO 7730).  This is also part of the HVAC module.

SolidWorks HVAC module showing air flow in office

  • Automatic recognition of solid-solid contact area when setting up thermal resistance. This will save time by detecting the surface of contact.
  • Quick callouts are now available to identify easily the invalid contact location in the graphics area so you can fix them quicker.
  • Finally, my favorite feature for viewing results in 2012, you can now dynamically adjust the palette size, position, and number of levels. You can also define the default settings and appearance of the Color Bar and new palettes of the Color Bar dialog box optimized for visualization of the temperature distribution.

SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2012 plot color options. Temperature

2012 Service Pack 02 enhancements:

  • Exporting of results will simultaneously export multiple surface parameters to Microsoft Excel for further analysis or to include in reports.
  • Screen capture videos can be created to record all screen activities.
  • Plots can be saved to standard image sizes.
  • A new HVAC module tutorial demonstrates how to use tracers to simulate the pollutant dispersion.

If you have not had a chance to download Service Pack 02, it looks like there are lots of goodies in store!

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