Model Contact Resistance on Any Surface or CAD Shape

23 April, 2019

At Future Facilities, we are committed to delivering simulation software that replicates real-life objects as accurately as possible. While 6SigmaET has always been capable of modeling Contact Resistance on primitive objects (e.g. cylinders), Release 13 can now do so on any surface or CAD shape. 

What is Contact Resistance?

Contact Resistance is the increase in thermal resistance across an interface formed between two solid materials due to imperfections (microscopic roughness, trapped fluid, low conductivity binding materials, etc.).

Contact Resistance in Simulation

To accurately represent the resistance network, the model must introduce additional resistance at the interface to account for the imperfect contact between two surfaces that is not captured by the geometry of the model.


In the following example, we have modeled a liquid cooled high power (2000 W) component. The component is cooled using a cold plate. The cold plate includes an intricate tubing for the coolant. To accurately simulate the heat transfer between the component and the tubing, we must consider the Contact Resistance between these two surfaces. 

First, right click on the CAD you want to analyze (in this case “Tubing”), and click “Add All Faces.” 

Figure 1. Add faces to the object you are interested in analyzing.

Next, select all faces. Right click the selected faces, hover over “New” and select “Thermal Resistance.” A dialogue box “Edit Properties” may appear, click “OK.” 

Figure 2. Locate the Thermal Resistance feature by selecting all faces, hovering “New” and selecting the “Thermal Resistance” option.

You can now view the Contact Resistance under the Construction tab in the Properties Sheet as “Thermal Specification” set to “Resistance.”

Figure 3. You can now view the Contact Resistance (i.e. “Thermal Specification: Resistance”) in the “Properties Sheet” under the “Construction” tab.

To summarize: Add Faces to the CAD Object of Interest>Select all Faces>Right Click>New>Thermal Resistance>Properties Sheet>Construction>Thermal Specification>Resistance.

This example was previously impossible due to the tubing’s unique geometry; however, 6SigmaET can now simulate the Contact Resistance for any CAD shape using this method.


The Contact Resistance feature provides the detail necessary to accurately replicate the resistance network—regardless of the model’s unique geometry. As with any feature, we would love to hear your feedback for future releases: email us at with your thoughts.  

Blog written by: Chris Aldham, Development Manager, Danielle Gibson, Technical Marketing Writer & John Kearns, Applications Engineer

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