Reduce Engineering Problems Within Minutes Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation
  • Reduce Engineering Problems Within Minutes Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation

    Posted on Oct Mon, 2015 by seacad_admin

    The emergence of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) have changed the landscape for engineering and innovation all over the world. They have accelerated the time to market and the rate of innovation so much, making competition much tougher in such a short span.

    But how does it achieve that? By allowing the design to be:

    • Low in cost
    • Highly effective
    • Faster to be created

    Here is an example of how FEA and CFD helps a particular product to achieve all this:

    Design Challenge: Heat Sink for external electronic device

    In a typical scenario, most manufacturers would use heat sinks off the shelf as it is the lowest cost and fastest to produce. The problem is that most off the shelf items may not work for all case scenarios. So a designer who is working with a certain space requirement and heat removal criteria may not have much option but to tweak the heat sink slightly.

    So how does the designer:

    • Maximise the current efficiency of the heat sink to remove heat with minor tweaks to the heat sink
    • Without eating too much space within the electronic device

    Starting by looking at the model in SOLIDWORKS, the engineer can see that as the force of gravity acts downwards, the heat will be passed on to the fins and through natural convention gets passed off through the air. The cooling factor here is “air” sliding off a “particular “area” of the fin. So…how about increasing that area with a shield?


    Based on theory, it seems like it makes sense that there would be more cooling. But how can we be sure? That is where SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation comes in. With the fully integrated approach between CAD and CFD, we are able to quickly rectify our ideas of these two concepts and we will find out that with these conditions of:

    • Maximum heat sink temperature as the goal
    • Maximum air velocity as the goal

    We get the results as such:

    Parameter Without Shield With Shield
    Temperature (Celsius) 62.0 55.9


    The chart shows the flow velocity around the heat sink. Here we can see that the flow velocity in the shield design to be faster, meaning faster dissipation of heat = BETTER DESIGN.


    This is a section showing the velocity profile within the heat sink. Now we have a better visualization of the effectiveness of the heat sink with the shield.


    This is a section view showing the temperature profile. Here we can see that with the shield, the heat transfer to the air is higher = HIGHER EFFICIENCY.


    Due to the higher heat transfer, we can see that the design with the shield has a lower temperature which means that this is the better design of the two.

    And there we have it, how simulation can reduce an engineering problem to a solvable issue within minutes. We have many more examples of how SOLIDWORKS Simulation can be applied such as:

    1. Heat Sink for the main chip in an electronic enclosure
    2. Medical Suction Device Screen
    3. Household Oven
    4. Control Valve

    If you would like to receive more information on these examples, click here to download.

    Happy Innovating!

4 thoughts on “Reduce Engineering Problems Within Minutes Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation

  1. The heat sink with the shield actually has larger surface area compare with conventional design. The comparison should be conducted at the same condition (same surface area) but different design (with or without shield), that will be more convincing.

    1. Thank you so much for your interest in our article. We provide free up-grader course for all our subscribers in which we could guide you for your simulation needs.

      As for the main comparison factors in these case, it would be:
      1) The flow velocity which shows effectiveness of heat dispersal
      2) Steady state surface temperature of sink – the lower the better

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