Material Flow

“Material Flow” or Advection

Thermal Desktop® is capable of modeling steady and unsteady heat transfer problems for both moving and stationary parts, including conduction, convection, contact, and thermal radiation.

When a batch process is to be simulated, or when discrete parts move (such as ingots through a furnace, or ground-tracking antennae on satellites), the part itself can be translated or rotated within a transient solution. But when the motion is continuous, such that a steady-state solution is possible, different modeling methods are available.

Examples of such continuous motion include a sheet of glass solidifying as it is lowered through a temperature-controlled zone, a gypsum board moving through a dryer, and a conveyor belt carrying baked goods through a continuous oven. In those circumstances, you can build a fixed model of the both stationary parts (heat lamps, ovens, driers, and so forth) and the moving parts (rollers, sheets, belts, etc.). Then you can superimpose an advection or “material flow” term on the rotating or translating parts.

For example, below is an open mesh conveyor belt with rollers moving under three heat lamps (using collimated rays for illustration purposes). Ray plots have been superimposed to show the lamp rays passing through the semi-transparent mesh belt, losing energy as they pass through each layer.

A key feature of the Thermal Desktop advection tools is that you can analyze moving parts using fast-to-solve steady states. In the above case the belt is moving at 0.1 ft/s. In this video, the belt is surging between zero and 1 ft/s, making the numerical motion of the belt more obvious.

Example applications for this capability include:

  • Belt conveyor furnaces, conveyor ovens
  • Steel and aluminum sheet metal manufacturing
  • Glass making (especially plate glass)
  • Paper making, fiber products, particle board and flakeboard drying and curing, drywall (wallboard) manufacturing
  • Optical fiber manufacturing (drawing fiber optic cable through a furnace)
  • Pebble bed reactors
  • Coke furnaces
  • Rotary furnaces
  • Carbon foam and metal foam heat exchangers, geothermal storage systems
  • Rotating disk heat exchangers and dehumidifiers
  • Moving belt heat exchangers, moving belt radiators

Hot Wire: Material Flow Example

A large rectangular copper “wire” passes through a continuous-flow tubular furnace used to harden a thermoset polymer coating. A pair of cooled rollers at the exit of the furnace help to both position the wire and smooth the coating.

Click here to download the hot wire sample model from our forum.

Bar through oven

Advection model results

Advection model results roller detail

Advection model coating temperatures


Advanced Pipes in FloCAD
Thursday November 14, 9-10am MT (8-9am PT, 11am-noon ET)
This webinar introduces advanced features for FloCAD pipes in addition to working with complex geometry. Complex geometry includes interior fins and surfaces for heat transfer, flow around enclosed objects, annular flow, concentric pipes, and more. FK Locators and TEEs as modeling objects will also be introduced.
Custom Heat Transfer and Pressure Drops
Tuesday November 19, 2-3pm MT (1-2pm PT, 4-5pm ET)
Do you know what the default assumptions are in FloCAD, and whether or not they apply in your situation? Do you know how far you can go past that starting point? The answer: pretty far. There are numerous mechanisms in FloCAD for adjusting factors, scaling uncertainties, and applying different or supplemental correlations. This webinar summarizes the options available to you to customize your flow models to make sure that they apply to each new situation you encounter.
Heat Exchangers: Detailed and System-level
Thursday November 21, 2-3pm MT (1-2pm PT, 4-5pm ET)
This is two webinars in one. The first explains the use and assumptions behind the FloCAD HX system-level modeling object. The second webinar describes detailed-level modeling of complex heat exchanger passages, including application of Compact Heat Exchanger (CHX) methods.
Starting in 2020, we will begin offering Introduction to Thermal Desktop and Introduction to RadCAD as either in-person training or online training, alternating between online and in-person every three months. The training uses lectures and demonstrations to introduce you to basic Thermal Desktop and RadCAD usage. Hands-on tutorials provide practice building models and interpreting results (tutorials are completed by students outside of the online class time).
The next training class will be an online format in January 2020:
  • Introduction to Thermal Desktop (and SINDA) - A three-part series on January 14, 16, and 21 from 9am to 12pm, Mountain time
  • Introduction to RadCAD - January 23 from 9am to 12pm, Mountain time
For up-to-date schedules, fees, and policies, visit our Product Training page. To register for the class above, complete our registration form and select "Online" for the Training Format.
If you are interested in product training for your company based on your schedule, please contact us to obtain a quote for training between 8-12 attendees. We can come to your facility or the lectures can be presented online. Descriptions of the available classes can be found in our course catalog.
To keep up with our training opportunities, take a look at our new Events and Training Calendar.