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How to Compare Fluid and Heat Flow Simulation Software by Ralf Kind

How to Compare Fluid and Heat Flow Simulation Software by
Article Posted: 01/06/2013
Article Views: 89
Articles Written: 21
Word Count: 814
Article Votes: 0
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How to Compare Fluid and Heat Flow Simulation Software

Manufacturing,Research,Science & Technology
Imagine you are working in a die casting operation and the discussion comes up to invest in fluid and heat flow simulation software and you are the lucky guy to pick the right software to buy. Fortunately there are not so many suppliers on the market and it is easy to get a first impression on their web sites. You read about different meshes, optimized solver, shortest calculation time, necessary add-on modules and each supplier is the best choice. At this point you are not further in your decision but really confused. Welcome in the club. The next step will be asking your buddy working in the company across the road who uses simulation software for some time. Be honest, do you think he will tell you that he bought the wrong software years ago and does not use it anymore? No, he tells you what he selected and why. Not more, maybe less. Second source is your customer base. The engineers explain to you what they have in house and give you recommendations. Keep in mind similar to your buddy your customer made his decision years ago, has many seats and can’t change to a different software provider. Anyway normally you will get valued and honest information out of this source. Ask for the advantages and the not so great features the software may have. Ask what alternatives your customer would accept and why. At this point you should be down to not more than three suppliers to contact. During the coming sales meetings you get even more details hard to understand. Just ignore the most of it. It is internal mumbo-jumbo to impress you. At the end the simulation results are important and the skill to set up a project. Normally this information is given at the end of the sales talk to lure you in to agree on a simulation project the sales team will do for you. You have to provide some CAD files and process data and results will be presented to you and your colleagues at the following meeting. In about two hours you will experience multiple fill and solidification movies, selected images and a compressive comparison to the casting quality you produce. After listen to the sales presentations you get the feeling all results look different. And worse in selected areas some results match, some look wrong and others are questionable. How can you judge which of the shown filling pattern are the closes to your production? Working as a process engineer you are familiar to short shots, meaning filling a smaller volume of melt into the cavity or stop the filling at a certain point and investigate how the melt is distributed into the cavity. Unfortunately trying to stop a melt front moving 400 inch/sec (10m/sec) does not happen in an instant and melt is still flying. In simulation melt flow is like a frozen moment in time. You will see comparing filling pattern experienced on the production floor and filling pattern simulated have to be different in certain locations and have to be the same in others. But how can you know? What do you do now? Do you go for the best presentation? Or do you buy based on costs? Wouldn’t it be great to have a simple model you know already how the filling and solidification pattern should be? A model to use that everybody understands and immediately shows the simulation rights and wrongs? Fortunately with simulation we can do more as in the real world and we have an object to use. Image a globe with 12 inch (300mm) diameter and a shell thickness of about a 1/8th of an inch (3mm). Connecting a 6mm diameter cylindrical straight runner to the shell the filling conditions following the shell must be the same in all directions. The melt front should move in a circular pattern and merge at the opposite pole. If multiple streams or voids appear or the melt does not merge opposite the runner the filling simulation failed. The most likely reasons would be a mesh inconsistency or a flaw in the mathematical model used which can be detected easy on a globular shape. A minimum of 10 mesh layers should be in the shell to get a real 3 dimensional result, an understanding about the real simulation time and possible variations in the filling pattern. Multiple mesh layers (proposal of 1, 5, 10, 15 layers) should be simulated to find and understand mesh influences. This simulation set up is the easiest thinkable. Do not hesitate and request a simulation set up and calculation in your office to learn how it is done. Use a computer similar to yours including explanation about the mesh creation and result quality. You don’t see what you expect or don’t like what you see move on to the next software until you are satisfied.

Related Articles - pressure die casting, simulation, fluid flow, ralf kind, heat flow, foundry, ,

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