Simcenter Flotherm

Technical Specifications

Flotherm uses advanced CFD techniques to predict airflow, temperature, and heat transfer in components, boards, and complete systems including racks and data centers. It features the industry's best solution for integration with MCAD and EDA software.

  • Intelligent thermal models
  • MCAD and EDA integration
  • Robust structured Cartesian Mesher
  • Automatic optimization
  • Finely-Tuned solver

Intelligent Thermal Models

Models ranging in scale from single ICs on a PCB to full racks of electronics can be quickly assembled from a complete set of SmartParts (intelligent model creation macros) that are supplied with Flotherm. Sourced from suppliers world-wide, SmartParts capture modeling expertise to streamline model creation, minimizing solve times and maximizing solution accuracy.

Thermo Electric Cooler (TEC) SmartPart functionality is also supported by Flotherm. By adding a TEC you can control the temperature so the specified component doesn’t get hotter than the predefined maximum for your design.

The Fan RPM derating feature supports the operation of an electronic device at less than its rated maximum power while taking into consideration the case or body temperature, ambient temperature and the type of cooling mechanism used.

MCAD and EDA Integration

Simcenter Flotherm offers unprecedented integration with MCAD and EDA software. Using the Flomcad Bridge module, engineers can import native data from Creo, SolidWorks, CATIA and other MCAD and EDA software into Flotherm. Unlike other thermal analysis software, Flotherm automatically prepares the geometry for efficient and accurate analysis.

Simcenter Flotherm can read industry standard ODB++ data to bring in printed circuit board designs (PCBs) and therefore can fit alongside any PCB layout tool in the design flow.

Robust Structured Cartesian Mesher

The Simcenter Flotherm grid is based on a structured-Cartesian method, the most stable and numerically efficient type of grid available. Engineers can localize the grid for finer resolution where needed, minimizing solution time and improving accuracy in grid quality. Overlapping localized spaces can be created to construct an efficient grid for large models with cluttered geometries.

A Simcenter Flotherm grid is associated with SmartParts, generated as part of the model assembly process, giving the user control over refinement and enabling engineers to focus on design rather than analysis. Where other tools require significant time and expertise to master gridding, Floytherm gridding is instantaneous and reliable. And Flotherm is the only analysis software with object-associated grid, eliminating re-gridding for each model modification.

Automatic Optimization

SmartPart-based modeling and a structured Cartesian grid enable “automatic sequential optimization,” unique to Simcenter Flotherm. The feature lets users specify a design goal, then let Simcenter Flotherm do the hard work of finding the right combination of design variables to meet that goal.

This feature can be used to optimize heatsink design, PCB component placement, fan/blower selection and other common design scenarios. It also enables finding otherwise-impractical design margin or production cost savings. With FloTHERM V12 scenario definition and design space exploration is more intuitive and fast: easy-to-find objects, attributes and settings; “find” tool with multiple applications for variant creation; easy interaction with spreadsheet tools; and efficient simulation of hundreds of models.

Alternatively, users can construct a design of experiments (DoE) that automatically analyzes the full range of all possible combinations of parametric variations. These models can be solved on a distributed network of computers using the unique “Volunteer” solution technology. It also supports calibration tasks using T3Ster® thermal characterization-based models for even more accurate thermal simulations.

Finely-tuned Solver

The Simcenter Flotherm solver has specifically addressed electronics cooling applications for more than 27 years, delivering the most accurate results possible, and the fastest solution time per grid cell. It resolves massive disparity in geometric length scales using the unique ‘localized-grid’ technique, which allows for integrally matched, nested, non-conformal grid interfaces between different parts of the solution domain.

The conjugate nature of heat transfer within electronic systems is concurrently solved using a preconditioned conjugate residual solver together with a flexible cycle multi-grid solution technique. Pragmatic, unique and accurate solution termination criteria produce useful results in engineering, not academic, time scales, with good scaling up to 32 cores for multi-core hardware.

Also, DC electrical calculations are supported for Joule heating effects to allow for accurate prediction, enabling power distribution net analysis and bus bar design to be performed.

Simcenter Flotherm accepts latent heat and melt temperature as inputs and utilizes these values automatically in transient applications. The impact of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) on component and touch temperatures can now be fully explored and optimized in Flotherm.

Powerful visualization Tools

The Simcenter Flotherm visualization toolset maximizes productivity when sharing the results of your design and analysis of electronics cooling projects. Fully rendered models, 3D flow animation and tools for dynamic manipulation of temperature, as well as flow results, enable engineers to pinpoint thermal issues and visualize design improvements quickly and effectively.

Texture mapping and AVI output enable communication of thermal-design concepts with non-technical colleagues. Thermal Bottleneck (BN) and Shortcut (SC) post-processing parameters let engineers visualize existing thermal bottlenecks and any opportunities to insert a new heat flow path in order to shortcut the heat to cooler areas.

The FloVIZ viewer, a complimentary, fully-functional version of the post-processor, can be used for easy “off-site” results presentation.

Extensive Usability Features

We're continually making Simcenter Flotherm better at what it does today. For example, we've added integrated model checking support in the Project Manager and Drawing Board, allowing users to see what objects have a material attached, the power attached to every object and the corresponding assembly-level power dissipation, and whether the object is creating a mesh line.

Automated Simulation Model Calibration

Simcenter Flotherm can convert a simulated transient thermal response into a structure function curve using the same mathematical process utilized by T3Ster. These structure function curves are known to correlate with the physical structure of the device, and are thus the ideal platform to compare simulation with test data.

Differences between the structure functions indicate that some aspect of the simulation model is incorrect; typically dimensions or physical properties that are difficult to measure directly such as thermal interface material (TIM) thicknesses or interfacial thermal contact resistances. Flotherm’s Command Center uses automated optimization methods to change the model inputs and drive the simulation structure function towards the experimental structure function until they match. This match indicates that the Flotherm model is fully calibrated and will respond correctly and accurately in any transient application.