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How to Create a Rotating Zone?


When performing a simulation with rotating parts such as pumps and fans, we need to use rotating zones. This requires some special CAD preparation which will be covered in this documentation. The current article focuses on how to create a rotating zone.


The rotating zone is an axially symmetric volume which encloses all rotating parts. At the same time, it must not touch any walls which do not rotate.
In this article, we will prepare the rotating volume for a pump. The impeller will need to be covered by the rotating zone.

comparison of rotating zone geometry and impeller
Impeller geometry (left) and rotating zone (right)

Best Practices

A) Create a Surface Offset of the Impeller

The following image shows how to create an offset of the impeller geometry:

Prepare CAD for simulating Rotating Zones SimScale - Adjust offset distance
Adjust the size of the offset
  1. Hide everything except your impeller
  2. Select the outer surfaces of the impeller and create an offset. To pick the right distance, you need to make the geometry covering everything visible.
  3. Adjust the distance of the offset – make sure that the offset is entirely within the flow volume (make it so small that you cannot see it anymore when the flow volume is visible)

As a result, we have generated a surface which we will now convert to a volume.

B) Convert the Surface Into a Solid

There are several different workflows to convert the surface into a volume. Some CAD tools have the option to find open surfaces so that you can simply close them and get a solid part as a result. If your CAD tool cannot do that,  stick to the following workflow:

Prepare CAD for simulating Rotating Zones SimScale Thicken surfaces
Prepare CAD for simulating Rotating Zones SimScale convert surface to solid
  1. Select the top surfaces
  2. Thicken them
  3. Select the bottom surface and extrude it to the top surface
  4. Subtract the thickened part from the extrusion
  5. Delete everything that is not the rotating zone

Congratulations! You have successfully created a rotating zone!


If none of the above suggestions solved your problem, then please post the issue on our forum or contact us.

Last updated: July 7th, 2020

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