SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Software


What is Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Software?

Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD is a technique that deals with the solution of fluid flow fields through numerical analysis. SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation is a CFD software designed for the everyday SOLIDWORKS user and analyst. It provides dynamic feedback on the fluid flow and thermal performance of their products. With parametric optimization capabilities, users can automate the design and analysis process to discover the best iteration of their design within the familiar SOLIDWORKS CAD environment.

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Software available from GoEngineer

Simulate Fluid and Gas Flow

Flow Simulation enables users to simulate a wide variety of liquids and gases for different engineering scenarios. A few common applications are flow through manifolds, heat exchangers, electronics cooling and aerodynamics. Check out the videos to see some examples of fluid flow and heat transfer situations in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation and CFD software.

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FEA Integration

System-level design requires optimizing fluid behavior and material strength. Because SOLIDWORKS incorporates CFD analysis and FEA, designers can incorporate both with the FEA transfer from SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. This allows engineers to use the resulting force and heat transfer effects from their CFD analysis as the load inputs in their FEA analysis to fully understand the structural behavior based on fluid behavior.

Rotating System Analysis

Coming up with optimal designs for systems with fan blades or impellers is impossible without accurate results. SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation provides users with tools that allow for rotating regions and sliding mesh methods to accurately simulate the behavior of these types of systems based on geometry, angular velocity, and transient behavior of the fluid.

External Flow Analysis

External analysis is used when we need to understand the fluid behavior around our model based on the environmental conditions. Wind turbines, airplanes, ships, heat sinks, and automobiles would all be studied using external flow analysis. In external studies, the computational domain acts as our virtual wind tunnel with boundary conditions, heat sources, and transient behavior all applied through the user-friendly setup wizard.

Internal Flow Analysis

PCB enclosures, valves, pumps, and manifolds are all examples of internal analysis studies. Because SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation functions inside of SOLIDWORKS CFD software, setting up computational domains, boundary conditions, and heat sources can be done in minutes. The results of your analysis can be applied directly to your design allowing you to test more iterations in less time.

Free Surface Dynamics

Free surface is a condition with a freely moving surface between two fluids that don’t mix, such as air and water. Using the Volume of Fluids approach, we can accurately simulate transient conditions such as tank sloshing or any open bath fluid behavior. Not only can these tests give us a better understanding of what the fluid is doing in the system, but we can also gather useful quantitative results such as force or pressure on internal walls.

Electronics Cooling Module

An add-on for SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, the Electronics Cooling Module (ECM) provides additional materials and material models that are specific to circuit board and PCB enclosure analysis. The Two-Resistor component model is a JEDEC approved method for simulating chip temperatures such as BGA, QFP, QFN, and SOP. The PCB-generator understands layer properties to provide accurate orthotropic thermal behavior. Joule heating capabilities mean designers can apply current as the input to estimate heat generation.

Particle Study

For certain applications, the fluid in a design might contain solid or liquid particles. The behavior of these particles and the fluid that interacts with them is critical to the function and efficacy of your system. With particle studies in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, we can analyze the particle behavior and see results for erosion and accretion of the system and the particle based on material properties, mass flow rate, and other physical characteristics of the system design.

Parametric Optimization

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation is a robust and complete CFD analysis tool. But, its integration into SOLIDWORKS CAD means it’s also a powerful design tool. This integration also opens the doors for optimizing your parameter-driven design based on the iterative results of the CFD studies and user-defined goals for the results.

HVAC Module

Accurately understanding HVAC systems is a complicated task. That’s why SOLIDWORKS created the HVAC add-on module for SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. This tool provides additional capabilities such as advanced radiation which modifies the way radiation between bodies, including semi-transparent materials such as glass, is calculated to provide higher fidelity of result information. The tracer study function allows the simulation of pollutants in a volume and shows how and where that pollutant will disperse in an environment.

Using CFD to Drive Product Performance

Watch this technical webinar to learn how you can benefit from adding CFD to your product design workflow. The discussion will include a CFD overview, several examples, tech tips, industry applications, and customer stories.


Frequently Asked Questions

The software is as accurate as any general-purpose CFD program. There are validation examples that come with the installation that showcase the similarities between experimental and analytical results with results from Flow Simulation.
You can see the general SOLIDWORKS system requirements and our recommended Dell systems for design, simulation, and visualization on our SOLIDWORKS hardware page .
For SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, we recommend processors with 8-24 cores and high core speeds.  We also recommend 32GB of RAM and ample solid state (SSD) storage.  You can read SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation: How Many CPU Cores Do You Need? to see our in-depth testing.
Yes. Using the remote solving capability, users can send their Flow Simulation calculation to another computer on their network.
Since Flow Simulation is embedded in SOLIDWORKS, it can use any solid body geometry that was created or can be imported into SOLIDWORKS.
In addition to the included Flow Simulation tutorials, GoEngineer offers classroom training, instructor-led online training, and custom training tailored to your specific application.
SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation does not simulate phase change, but there are ways to mimic this phenomenon by  manipulating fluid material properties.
Yes. Flow Simulation is an add-on to SOLIDWORKS, so it will work within an existing SOLIDWORKS license. 
Yes. The Electronics Cooling Module and the HVAC Module are add-ins to SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. These modules give users additional tools to solve challenges in these fields.


SOLIDWORKS Integration

Create flow analysis projects directly on your models without importing or exporting geometry. The Flow Simulation module is fully embedded within SOLIDWORKS and utilizes the CAD User Interface to set up the analysis.

Fluid Volume Recognition

The CFD software automatically recognizes the fluid volume in your design based on the type of analysis. Users will no longer have to manually extract and define the fluid regions for their analyses, which significantly simplifies the setup process. Identify and fix leaks in the model using the check geometry and leak detection tools.

Guided Analysis Setup

Utilize the Analysis Wizard to set up multiple CFD scenarios through a guided process. Build analysis templates with the appropriate input criteria and avoid missing parameters that could be critical to the accuracy of your analysis.

Solution-Based Meshing Techniques

Take advantage of the dynamic meshing technique that auto-refines the mesh in regions of high-fluid activity. Utilizing the powerful grid-based cartesian meshing algorithm, the CFD software can adaptively change the mesh during the solution process to yield accurate results.

Analysis Automation

Investigate multiple design variations using the optimization tools in Flow Simulation. The parametric study functionality takes design variables and simulation criteria as inputs to automatically determine the best design for a variety of flow and thermal scenarios.


Simulate fluid flow and heat transfer simultaneously to tackle a variety of challenges involving conduction, convection, and radiation. Determine the effect of fluid flow on the thermal performance of your designs.

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Design Data Reuse

Multi-Parameter Optimization

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Capabilities

Material Database

Internal - External

2D - 3D

Heat Conduction in Solids



Free Surface


Gases, Liquid, and Steam

Boundary Layer Description

Mixing Flows

Non Newtonian Fluids

Flow, Thermal, and Wall Conditions

Porous Components


Results Customization

Communication & Reporting

Two-Phase (Fluid + Particles) Flows

Noise Prediction (Steady State and Transient)


Thermoelectric Coolers (TECs),


Thermal Joint


Contact Resistance



  • Advanced radiation capabilities, with the added Discrete Ordinates method, span the radiation spectrum from 100nm to 100,000nm and allow partially absorptive materials, like glass, into the radiative calculation.


  • Track a fluid contaminant through the fluid flow. Predict diffusion, condensation, or vaporization.


  • Additional result types estimate thermal comfort against established statistics. Uses the PMV/PPD method, and outputs other results such as air quality, effective draft temperature, and others.



  • Use Joule Heating through electro-conductive solids to determine temperature distribution due to current passing through or voltage drops across a system, and a larger material database including semiconductors, polymers, ceramics and interface materials.

  • Simplify board layouts with pre-defined components that generate heat, apply accurate resistance or force convection without requiring a detailed model. Component simplification options are: PCB Generators, Two-Resistor Components, and Heat Pipes. Adds a larger database of Fans, Thermoelectric Coolers, and Two-resistor components from different manufacturers.




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