For a number of products, engineering systems and industrial processes, a safe, reliable and cost effective operation requires the precise control of heat flow paths, thermal losses and input power requirements or output power delivery rates.
Traditional analysis methods, such as hand calculations, though useful in carrying out the global sizing and design of these devices often deliver poorly optimised designs.
Using numerical CFD and FEA simulations, a more detailed assessment may be carried out on complex geometric designs with non-homogeneous materials and complex thermal boundary conditions such as transient heat sources. This allows, for example, a precise point-by-point evaluation of the insulation of a complex heating (or cooling) system.
In addition to the direct simulation of heat transfer processes – conduction, convection and radiation – other associated physics such as fluid flow, phase change, electromagnetic and Joule heating may also be incorporated into the simulation in order to allow a full system assessment of coupled multi-physics technologies.
In summary, the detailed understanding of the thermal performance of a design can be obtained and used to inform engineering decisions on both operation and design optimisation.