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Unleashing the Power of Multiphysics Simulation
17 Nov, 2023


In today’s competitive engineering landscape, ensuring the robustness and reliability of designs is of utmost importance. Traditional design approaches often overlook the intricate interaction between thermal effects and structural behavior, leading to suboptimal solutions. However, with the power of thermal-structural simulation, engineers can now accurately predict and analyze the impact of temperature variations on structural performance. In this blog, we showcase a case study by using Siemens Simcenter 3D to perform a thermal-structural simulation.

Brake disks are subjected to complex thermal and structural loads during operation. The frictional heat generated during braking can cause significant temperature variations, leading to thermal expansion, stress distribution, and potential structural failure. By performing a multiphysics analysis that combines thermal and structural considerations, engineers gain valuable insights into the brake disk’s behavior and can optimize its design for enhanced performance and reliability.

The workflow to simulate the brake disk is the following:

  • Geometry Preparation and Meshing: We started by importing the brake disk geometry into our simulation software. The geometry was carefully prepared, ensuring clean surfaces and appropriate dimensional accuracy. Subsequently, we generated a high-quality mesh that accurately captured the intricacies of the brake disk.

Figure 1: Brake disk, Geometry and Mesh.

  • Thermal Analysis: To simulate the thermal behavior of the brake disk, we applied appropriate thermal loads, such as frictional heat generation, convective cooling from airflow, and thermal radiation. By using Simcenter 3D, we accurately modeled heat transfer mechanisms, including conduction within the disk material and convection at the disk’s exposed surfaces.

Figure 2: Thermal simulation boundary conditions.

This analysis enabled us to obtain detailed temperature distributions across the brake disk during braking events.

Figure 3: Temperature field on the disk.

  • Thermal-Structural Coupling: The thermal-structural coupling phase was a crucial step in our analysis. By integrating the results of the thermal simulation as a load in the structural analysis, we accounted for the interaction between temperature distribution and structural response. This coupling allowed us to accurately capture the thermal stresses induced by the varying temperatures.

Now the mapped temperature field is one of the Load conditions for the structural analysis.

Figure 4: Comparison between the Thermal result (Left) and Mapped Structural Load (Right).

  • Structural Analysis: We proceeded to the structural analysis to evaluate the brake disk’s response to thermal loads. We incorporated material properties, boundary conditions, and contact interfaces to accurately simulate the mechanical behavior. The structural analysis allowed us to predict stress distribution, deformations, and potential areas of concern, such as hot spots or regions susceptible to thermal fatigue. By considering the thermal expansion of materials, we could capture the effects of temperature variations on the brake disk’s structural integrity.

Figure 5: Displacement (Left) and Stress distribution (Right).

Thermal-structural multiphysics simulation has revolutionized our approach to brake disk design, allowing us to consider the intricate interplay between temperature variations and structural behavior.

We at FEAC hope that this blog post has been interesting and that you will be able to create a nice FE Analysis after reading this. If you have any questions, you are always welcome to contact us at support@feacomp.com


Giannis Georgiadis
Structural Simulation Analyst at FEAC Engineering
Mechanical & Aeronautics Engineer M.Sc

e-mail: g.georgiadis@feacomp.com

LinkedIn Profile: Ioannis Georgiadis