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  • Documentation

    Global Settings

    Settings like the turbulence model, time dependency, and material behavior can be defined as part of the Global Settings of a simulation. The global settings of a simulation are accessed by clicking on the first entry of a simulation tree:

    global simulation settings for an incompressible analysis on simscale
    Figure 1: The global simulation settings define the physics of the simulation setup.

    In this documentation page, we will go through the parameters that are defined in the global settings. For convenience, these parameters will be divided into two main categories: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

    Computational Fluid Dynamics

    Turbulence Model

    Turbulence modeling is an important issue in many CFD simulations. Virtually, all engineering applications are turbulent and hence require a turbulence model. When turbulence is present, it usually dominates all other flow phenomena, which results in energy dissipation, mixing, heat transfer, and drag being increased\(^1\). Turbulence modeling is the construction and use of a model to predict the effects of turbulence.

    The common turbulence models used in CFD applications are RANS-based models, especially two-equation models. SimScale makes available some of the most commonly used models in industrial and research applications. In a Laminar flow, associated with low Reynolds numbers, viscous effects dominate the flow and turbulence can be neglected. This flow regime is characterized by regular flow layers.

    Currently, the following models are supported:

    For further information on turbulence, please visit this SimWiki article.

    Time Dependency

    There are two variants of simulation: Steady-state and Transient. To account for time-dependent effects, consider a transient simulation. If you are only interested in the converged steady-state solution, consider a steady-state simulation. Steady-state simulations are computationally less demanding.


    In the case of a multiphase analysis, the time dependency setting will always be set to transient.


    In SimScale, the following algorithms are available:

    • For steady-state analysis: SIMPLE;
    • For transient analysis with turbulence: PISO, PIMPLE;
    • Lastly, for transient laminar analysis: ICO.

    These algorithms are responsible for the pressure-velocity coupling. For additional information, readers are referred to this page\(^2\).

    Passive Species

    Passive scalar transport is available for incompressible and convective heat transfer analysis.

    Passive scalars allow you to simulate the transport of a scalar quantity within a fluid flow. The core assumption of this is that the species that is transported within the flow does not affect the fluid flow (therefore passive).

    This is a valid assumption, for example, for the transport of oxygen within a water flow. It is important to note that scalar transport does not assume any physical dimensions for passive quantities. Refer to this documentation page for more information about passive species.


    This parameter is exclusive to convective heat transfer, conjugate heat transfer v2.0, and conjugate heat transfer (ibm) analysis. The user can enable or disable this parameter via an on/off toggle.

    When the toggle is off, the Boussinesq approximation is used. This approximation is valid for small temperature variations within the domain. This assumption is often used, for example, in natural convection simulations. If the toggle is off, use Gauge pressure (0 Pa).

    When Compressible is toggled on, the resulting density variations within the domain are calculated based on pressure and temperature. If the toggle is on, use Absolute pressure (as an example 101325 Pa at sea level).

    Based On

    This setting is exclusive for compressible transient analysis. Pressure-based indicates that the solver being used in the analysis is rhoPimpleFoam\(^3\).


    Heat transfer through radiation takes place in the form of electromagnetic waves and it can be calculated in the simulation. This phenomenon becomes more important when the temperatures involved in the simulation are large.

    Both convective and conjugate heat transfer analysis types support radiation. Visit this dedicated page for more information.

    Local Time Stepping

    This setting is exclusive to multiphase analysis, which is inherently a transient analysis type. With the Local time stepping option enabled, it’s possible to accelerate the simulation towards a steady-state. As a result, faster computing times and smaller result data size.

    This option is commonly used in ship hull resistance analysis, to accelerate the simulation towards a steady-state showing wave patterns.


    In SimScale, cavitation can be modeled in Subsonic simulations using the constant gas mass fraction model. Read more about cavitation here.

    Solar Load

    The electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun is also referred to as solar radiation. In CFD, solar radiation acts as an additional heat source. For some applications, such as thermal comfort studies, ignoring solar radiation may impact the accuracy of the results.

    SimScale has a solar radiation module, available in the Conjugate Heat Transfer v2.0 (CHT v2.0) analysis type. Read more about Solar Load here.

    Relative Humidity

    Exclusive for the Conjugate Heat Transfer v2 simulation, when enabled, it includes the humidity effects and related computations as part of the simulation. In order to use it, it requires the Compressible toggle to be active beforehand.

    When enabled, the model will take into account the transport of the humidity in the domain, as well as its influence on the mixed fluid density. Also, the result fields will include the Percentage of Relative Humidity, Absolute Humidity, and Specific Humidity. For more details on the definition of these fields and how they are computed, please go to this page.

    Joule Heating

    Exclusive for the Conjugate Heat Transfer v2 and Conjugate Heat Transfer (IBM) simulations, when enabled, it solves the electric fields and takes the resulting thermal losses into account when solving the overall thermal and flow fields. Electric Potential, Current Density, and Joule Heat Generation will be included as additional result fields. For more details on the definition of these fields and how they are computed, please go to this page.

    Finite Element Analysis

    Nonlinear Analysis

    In case the model’s displacement response to a given load can be assumed to be linear (usually the case for small loads or displacements), keep this setting disabled. Otherwise, when the relationship between applied forces and the displacement response can’t be assumed to be linear, enable the nonlinear analysis setting.

    The Nonlinear analysis toggle is available for static, heat transfer, and thermomechanical analysis types. Learn more about nonlinear analysis in this article.

    Time Dependency

    Heat transfer and thermomechanical analysis can be performed as Steady-state and Transient simulations. Transient analysis accounts for time-dependent effects, whereas steady-state analysis returns only the converged steady-state solution.

    Inertia Effect

    Inertia effects refer to the mass times acceleration forces that are developed during movement with varying speeds. It is equivalent to performing a Dynamic simulation in the mechanical part of the solution. Set this if there are considerable accelerations in the model.

    This setting is available in transient thermomechanical analysis settings, where the inertia effects are only considered when the simulation type is set to Dynamic. Otherwise, if set to Static, inertia effects won’t be taken into account.

    Last updated: June 15th, 2023

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