Thermal structural analysis involves the application of the finite element method to calculate the temperature distribution within a solid structure caused by 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. Convection (set by a surface film coefficient) and radiation (surface emissivity) are capable of emitting and receiving thermal energy to and from their environment however only radiation is able to transfer thermal energy between disconnected bodies in an assembly.
Radiation: To determine the effect of heat leaving one component and being transported via moving fluid to another a SOLIDWORKS Simulation thermal fluid analysis must be ran as the fluid impact has to be calculated.
Convection: SOLIDWORKS Simulation simplifies the complex task of determining accurate convection surface film coefficients for complex geometries by importing accurate coefficients from SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation in order to provide 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
Once the temperature field has been established it is then easy to calculate thermal stress which in turn can ensure product performance and safety.