The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one medium to another. In simple terms, that means that if we’re designing a product that’s going to get hot, that heat has to go somewhere! Thermal management can take many forms in different industries; in this article, we’ll take a look at three of the more common examples.

Dissipating Heat In Electronics

One of the challenges a lot of companies face is how to carry heat away from the components that are generating it to ensure they don’t overheat, especially as today’s electronics are getting smaller and smaller. With electronics components being expensive and tough to replace, getting the thermal considerations right is important for product life and warranty considerations. Can’t have brand new components melting if they get too hot! One of the most common methods of cooling electronics components is the addition of cooling fans to blow air over the heated components and carry away some of that heat. More advanced solutions involve cooling loops filled with cold water or refrigerant to carry away the heat from the hot components.

Thermal Management In HVAC Systems

Another industry that is highly dependent on the ability to deliver hot (or cold) air efficiently is HVAC designers and contractors. Having a structure heat and cool efficiently is critical to making sure the people living or working inside of it are happy. Changing the size or angles of the internal ducts can make a huge difference in terms of system performance, as can changing the size or speed of blower fans or pumps.

Simple HVAC Ductwork Diagram for Thermal Management

Passenger Vehicles Unique Challenges With Thermal Management

The third class of problems where thermal management is so important is really a combination of the ones above. Passenger vehicles are incredibly complex systems that involve cooling complex components in the engine compartment as well as keeping the passengers at a comfortable temperature. As well, these vehicles can be operating in a wide variety of environmental and weather conditions which pose additional thermal management challenges. Having a system failure in one of these environments is very dangerous, so engineers need to be sure they get the answer right the first time.

Passenger Vehicles Unique Challenges With Thermal Management

Know Before You Build

Using a Computational Fluid Dynamics tool like SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation allows for the study and solution of all these problems and more, right inside of the familiar SOLIDWORKS CAD modeling space. Rather than relying on expensive prototypes and time-consuming physical tests, you can test multiple design iterations quickly and know which variation is the one for the job. Contact our Simulation Services department today to help us help you!

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