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I need to model heat transfer in a 3D digital environment. I have very little physics / engineering background so I have no idea what's available or what software / methods are used. I have some background in CAD and general experience in Matlab, but this is going to be a steep learning curve whichever way I look at it.

I have a dataset of images from a thermal camera, and a set of points from a laser scanner. What I want to do is to build a 3D digital model from those points (fit a surface to them), then (somehow?) use the thermal images to model heat flow from the objects to the horizontal surface, to identify where thermal hotspots appear (radiative transfer?).

This is a completely new subject area to me but I do have a block of time (3+ months) which I can devote purely to training before I even begin writing (or hopefully just using / adapting) a model. The trouble is that right now I can only find information on specific aspects (e.g. finite element analysis) which is at a much higher level to where I currently am, and no broad overview of general software and techniques. I'm guessing this must be a fairly standard aspect of mechanical engineering but I'm struggling to find what I'm looking for when I don't know exactly what that is.

Can anyone take some time to explain the basics? Any suggestions or overview would be extremely useful.

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# 3D Heat Transfer Modelling

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