Are there any easy-to-use CFD software?

17 June, 2020

When you’re deciding on which CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software to use, it’s key to look for intuitive platforms that allow you to quickly design, solve and analyze your thermal models, while keeping future product reliability firmly front of mind.

Traditionally, thermal design was extremely complex and not something undertaken by a novice. But while general-purpose tools still require expertise, “application-specific” CFD software has become more intuitive. These tools use automation to recognize what a user is trying to simulate, helping relative beginners to start building their own simulations and modelling their thermal designs.

For those just starting out in electronics design, this ease-of-use is vital, making thermal design and testing more accessible for the next generation of budding engineers.

If you’re a beginner looking to learn more about thermal simulation, you’ll be pleased hear that there are in fact some easy-to-use CFD platforms out there. These platforms are united by several key features, all of which make simulation easier than ever before:

What to look for in an easy-to-use thermal simulation software

Intelligent objects

The tricky part of any project is getting started. That’s why, to make it as easy to use as possible, CFD software should come with a library of the key components that a thermal engineer would use on a daily basis.

But it’s not enough to just have easy access to these components; the platform should be intelligent enough to understand how these components behave in real-life.

As an example, at 6SigmaET our CFD software is driven by the parent-child relationship that links objects and allows for logical organization. Our components know exactly what they are and how they should behave with one another, making it easy to simulate different component combinations and to accurately anticipate the heat output of an overall design.

With an intuitive drag and drop design, components like fans and heat sinks can be added or removed with ease.

But remember, object intelligence goes beyond just model build; simulation results of each project can be tailored to an object type. For example, if you want to know which components are overheating or how much heat is being dissipated, 6SigmaET’s CFD software shows you.

Automatic grid generation

The second feature an easy-to-use simulation platform needs is automation. Automatic grid generation is a great example of a time-saving tool that engineers can use to automate some of the tedious and time-consuming steps involved in your thermal simulation projects — allowing you to just build, solve and analyze.

As an example, one of the key steps of modelling is gridding. But it’s a slow process that requires absolute precision, otherwise it may yield inaccurate results. Even the most experienced engineers may forget to add key grids in larger models.

To resolve this, CFD software should automate the grid generation to give you a fast and reliable grid, maximizing the grid resolution in areas where added detail is needed, and minimizing wherever an overview will suffice. 

At 6SigmaET, we’ve developed a unique multi-level, unstructured gridding system. Our intelligent objects have built-in gridding tools, so the grid is placed in all the key areas automatically. Our platform puts a minimum of three grid cells in between the fins and adds inflation layers above and below the PCB, which not only reduces the time and is easy to use, but also reduces human errors. 

Our CFD software automatically checks for collision and modelling errors, allowing you to address problems as they appear. Additionally, the automatic, object-based gridding feature allows you to set up and solve thermal simulation models with ease.

Modern user interface

An intuitive and easy to use modern interface is a necessity in any CFD software. In older simulation suites, however, usability was rarely front of mind. As such many of these tools don’t follow the standardized layouts and UX patterns that you would expect to see across other software platforms. For a new user, this can make them extremely difficult to navigate and ultimately much harder to use.

This is why, at 6SigmaET, we’ve emulated the ribbon-based environment you’d expect from any other software platform. Bold icons and inbuilt help materials make it easier to build, solve and analyze your model.

To find out more about the cost of simulation, and how 6SigmaET can benefit your business, get in touch with our team.

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Blog written by: Matt Evans, Product Engineer

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