Introduction: Solidworks: Static Thermal Simulation

This Instructable demonstrates how to perform a simple Static Thermal Analysis in Solidworks.

Step 1: Start a New Thermal Study

First, be sure that Solidworks Simulation is enabled by going to Tools > Add ins, and making sure that the box next to the simulation icon is checked. Under the simulation tab, click the drop-down menu under the "Study Advisor" button, and click "New Study." This will bring you to another drop down menu where you can select the type of study you wish to perform. For this example, choose the "Thermal" option.

Step 2: Define the Thermal Loads

The next step is to define the temperatures and thermal loads for your study. This example will only consider convection loads. First, click the drop down menu under "Thermal Loads," and select "Convection." This will bring up a new menu. In this menu, click in the "Selected Entities" box, and then click every surface that is exposed to the convection fluid. In this example, the two surfaces exposed to convection are the inner copper pipe, and the outside surface of the insulation. In the same menu, you must also define the "Convection Coefficient" and "Bulk Ambient Temperature" by typing in the numerical values. These steps must be repeated for each different thermal load (twice in this example).

Step 3: Create a Mesh

Next, click the drop-down menu under the "Run This Study" button, and select "Create Mesh." This will bring you to a menu where you can select the mesh density that you wish for Solidworks to use. The mesh density is manipulated via a slider that ranges from "Coarse" to "Fine." Clicking the green checkmark in this menu will lead to the part or assembly being resurfaced with a triangular mesh. A finer mesh will have more triangles and be more accurate, whereas a coarse mesh will have less triangles, but run quicker. This step may be skipped if you wish for Solidworks to define the mesh itself; if so, continue to Step 4.

Step 4: Run the Study

Finally, under the "Run this Study" button, choose "Run this Study." This may take some time, but when Solidworks completes its analysis you should have a new Thermal Study under the "Results" tab at the far left. Also, your part or assembly should have a colorized temperature gradient and scale.