If you have ever had the excitement of creating a new design, you have inevitably had questions come up that prevented the project from moving forward until they were answered. Questions like:
Do we really need to use high strength (high cost) steel in this application?
Is the design far enough along to justify spending the time building a prototype?
What if this part gets shipped to the Sahara rather than Antarctica?
The project bogs down as the list of “what ifs” grows. How do you turn these mountains back into mole hills? The answer is Simulation. By running quick studies early, you can tell if your design in on the right track, or if you should scrap the project in pursuit of a more promising opportunity. Later on, Simulation can help refine a design, dialing in parameters, saving time over building full prototypes. You can even use Simulation at the end of a project, to validate that the design will meet the project requirements, and to create vivid illustrations to show clients how the design functions. When most people think of SOLIDOWRKS Simulation, the mind immediately goes to a structural FEA analysis. And while SOLIDWORKS does make creating structural studies very straight forward, there is much more to Simulation than linear static studies.
One often overlooked capability is thermal studies. If you are trying to determine the operating temperature of your design, you can use SOLIDOWRKS Simulation to quickly find the temperature of components in a design. SOLDIWORKS Simulation allows for the accounting for convection, conduction, and radiation, as it relates to solid bodies.
In addition to static and transient thermal problems, it is also possible to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation to find the thermal stress caused by thermal expansion. With so many simulation possibilities, you may not think you would ever need to venture beyond the vast boundaries of SOLIDWORKS Simulation. However, at some point, you may find it is time to move beyond SOLIDWORKS Simulation, and venture into the land of SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. Case in point: recently, I wanted to make a meat smoker out of a cardboard box and a broken crockpot. At first blush, this may seem like redneck engineering, not fit for simulation. However, I wanted to know if my idea would work, or if I needed to modify my plans (before burning the house down).
With SOLIDWORKS Simulation I could determine that I should NOT have the cardboard box touch the heat source. Doing so, would cause the temperature of the cardboard to rise to the point of combustion. However, I ALSO wanted to know if the smoker would come up to temperature in a New England winter, and if free convection would be enough to create consistent cooking. To see how I solved these and other design questions, check out the video.