Awhile back I was working on a pet project using Flow Simulation. My study kept failing and when I got results, they didn’t seem consistent. In desperation, I reached out to CAPINC’s own Keith Pederson for help. His first question, “What are your goals?”. My first thought, “My short term or long term goals…and what does this have to do with my failing simulation?” Keith then sat me down and gave me two tips that have made all of my Flow Simulations flow more smoothly ever sense.
1. Flow Simulation Is Like An Adolescent: It Needs Direction
Unlike a typical FEA, a SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation doesn’t have just one question to answer. You may be looking for the heat transfer through a heat sink, or possibly how two fluids are mixing, or how about the amount of drag on a car body. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. So not unlike a teenager, a flow simulation needs some direction to keep it on track. By letting the program know what type of answer you are looking for, the solver can verify that the study has reached steady state to ensure it is giving you the correct answer to your question before the calculation is stopped.
To add a goal to your study, right click on the goal icon, and choose to add the type of goal you are looking for.
You will then have several options to choose from. By choosing a few goals that relate to the type of study you are running, you should find that your studies produce more consistent results, and likely converge faster than a study without goals.
Also note: the “Use for Convergence” check box, this means that the selected goal will be used as a condition to stop the calculation.
2. Don’t Leave Your Flow Simulation Unattended
Continuing with the teenager theme, would you leave your teen home alone for the weekend? (This is how living room furniture ends up in the swimming pool.) In the same way, not monitoring a flow simulation means you will not be around to stop the analysis if it metaphorically invites the entire high school over for a “small get together”. It also allows you to see how the analysis is progressing, and can often give an idea about how, or why a study is failing, before the solver is even finished. To view the results while your flow simulation is solving click on the “Insert Goal Plot” or the “Insert Preview” and choose the output you want to watch as the solver is working.
Now you can watch and stop the simulation if it appears that the study has gone off course!
With these two simple tips, you will be well on your way to better Flow Results. If you would like to read some more Flow Simulation tips, check out Keith’s post on the Flow Solver.