Complex thermal models based on 3D CAD

ABB has developed a way of undertaking thermal modelling of its switchgear designs by breaking down a 3D model into its component parts, and then automatically applying the thermal equivalent of electrical laws to each part

and solving the problem as if it were an electric circuit.

Such an approach requires much less computing power than trying to mesh a complex fabrication and then analyse it using a finite element based method.

Robert Platek, an Associated Scientist at the ABB Corporate Research Center on Krakow, Poland, speaking at a SolidWorks event, explained that finite element methods, such Abaqus, finite difference methods such as Maya, and Finite volume methods such as Fluent, “Require a lot of computation” when applied to complex fabrications such as switchgear. The only alternative is to, “Break up the object into a number of sub volumes, either nodes or library blocks”.

More details about this and other engineering software developments will be found in a special supplement, “Design your Future” to be published with Eureka in the near future.

Tom Shelley

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