SimScale Update 05/2016: Conjugate Heat Transfer

Conjugate heat transfer in a heat exchanger with SimScale

Flow in a cross-flow heat exchanger

We are happy to announce the release of one of our most requested features, conjugate heat transfer, which will make full modeling of heat exchangers, cooling and heating systems, and many similar applications possible on SimScale. The new feature is especially designed to speed up the development process for complex applications.

As the name suggests, CHT couples the transfer of thermal energy between fluid and solid parts of the domain. The introduction of this coupling brings several new applications within the reach of our users.

Currently, heat transfer is offered in both fluid and solid analysis types on the SimScale platform. In fluid simulation, transfer of thermal energy in one fluid domain could be studied using the natural convective heat transfer analysis type. With the exception of radiation, this type of simulation models heat transfer in the fluid domain with great accuracy; however, as mentioned, it is restricted to only one fluid domain. This property limits the use of this analysis type to scenarios where the fluid is effectively isolated within its domain.

Additionally, we offer thermal modeling of solids on SimScale in uncoupled thermomechanical analysis and heat transfer analysis types. In both of these types, heat transfer could be simulated between two and more solids, however, no fluid domains. Moreover, if simulating a forced convection on a boundary is targeted, convective coefficient over the boundary should be provided by the user in advance as a part of boundary condition.

What does conjugate heat transfer bring?

With the introduction of CHT, we move beyond these limitations. SimScale users can now simulate heat transfer between several domains by definition of interfaces between them. Heat is then transferred through these interfaces from one domain to the other. There is no limitation on the type or number of domains. Properties of each interface depends on the domain it is associated with. It is therefore possible to have any number of fluid-solid, fluid-fluid, and solid-solid interfaces in one simulation.


Velocity and temperature in cooling of an electronic chip

Heat is assumed to be transferred through conduction in solids. A solid domain is defined by assigning a solid material to a volume in the mesh. We have accordingly extended our material library to have many more materials, especially those useful in typical heat transfer applications. Furthermore, we have added more thermal models to make simulation of a wider range of materials, specifically fluids, possible.

Finally, this is only the beginning of our conjugate heat transfer analysis type. We have worked on several projects to address the most important and popular applications of CHT. They will be released in our community very soon.

On Tuesday, May 31, we will also hold a webinar dedicated to conjugate heat transfer to highlight the most interesting features and applications of CHT on SimScale. On top of that, we have planned the addition of more features to our CHT component. To give one away, radiation models are the most imminent.

I look forward to seeing the conjugate heat transfer component being used by our 60 000 professional and community users. We have tried to provide a streamlined yet detailed workflow for you. I am sure you can simulate what you are interested in on the SimScale platform or find it in our public projects very easily. In any case, we always welcome your feedback.

To get started, check out this heat exchanger simulation and heat sink electronics cooling analysis available in the Public Projects library. Simply copy the projects and edit the setup for your own purposes.

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