SolidWorks Flow Simulation is a great tool, to help us understand effects of local heat in an environment. We had an interesting project at hand, we were asked to figure out, heat generated in a small furnace.
Once the cad model is ready all we have to do is enter basic information. For example how hot the heating element get (power in watts) , fan speed (rpm) and ambient conditions (room pressure and temperature). We can then figure out heat generated (temperature) in the rods.
Also, how uniform is the temperature along the conveyor belt. This is very important to ensure components running through the belt get cured uniformly. In a typical furnace they have to maintain a definite temperature range.
Once we understand the effect of heating rod and conveyor belt temperature, we can also visualize air movement in the curing chamber. This can be done using Flow trajectories.
The alternative to this virtual test is to build a physical model, mount temperature gages and run smoke tests to figure out air movement. Good luck doing all this in 15 minutes.
In these hot environments it is not only necessary to figure out the engineering aspect, but also to determine how comfortable is someone working in close proximity to these furnaces. Solidworks Flow Simulation also calculates comfort parameters as per ASHRAE standards.
The image on the left is (PMV) Predicted Mean Vote. PMV is an index on how hot or cold a person would feel based on 7 point thermal scale (-3 to 3). -3 being cold to 3 being hot. In this case the plot is taken 5 inches from the from of the furnace.The image on the right is Predicted Percent Disatisfied (PPD). PPD is an index that provides information on thermal discomfort. Since it indicates 100%, I would suggest do not stand 5 inches from the rear of the furnace.
Computer Aided Technology Inc.