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Question about Heat Transfer

  1. Nov 1, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I just want to know what is the difference if we analyze a heat transfer using finite element analysis software such as ANSYS, ALGOR, NASTRAN, etc., and using computational fluid dynamics software such as FLUENT, etc.?

    That’s all

    Thanks in advance

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2008 #2


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    I'm not fluent with FLUENT (ha ha) but they are all based on the finite element method. Some solvers and mesh engines may be better than others however, you probably won't be too terribly different between them. Our company uses both for ANSYS and FLUENT for heat transfer calcs. I guess it would depend on the media and the scenario being looked at.
  4. Nov 3, 2008 #3
    Not to confuse you to much but FLUENT is a part of ANSYS now. FLUENT specializes in the thermo fluids aspect such as heat exchange between fluid/solid, pressure drop, mixing, combustion, cavitation, etc. What you cannot do in FLUENT is internal stress analysis. It also uses finite volume method and not finite element I believe.
    Some of the other packages are more specialized in calculating structural stresses in solids.
  5. Nov 3, 2008 #4


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    My initial reaction would be the boundary conditions. As Fred said, they are based upon the same principles, but the heat equation is completely an elliptic PDE, whereas the N-S equations are typically hyperbolic. Due to this, the solvers are allowed to be written differently. Boundary condition specification is different based on the characteristics of the equations.

    Here at work, if we have a flow that we need to know thermal properties (heat rate out, etc), we will typically iterate between CFX and ANSYS to get the best possible result.
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