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SolidWorks FloXpress vs. Flow Simulation

Part of my role with DASI Solutions is to educate our customers and potential future customers on SolidWorks and its related products. In particular, some of my focus has been on the Simulation products. Two Simulation tools that I am here to help provide some answers to for today are FloXpress and Flow Simulation. These tools sound very similar, but in reality they are quite different.

Background
SolidWorks offers many tools to users in order to allow them to improve their designs.  Some of these tools are included with EVERY seat of SolidWorks and do not require any special purchase to be made. Some examples of these are included within the Tools pulldown (see Figure 1) such as DriveWorksXpress, SimulationXpress, FloXpress, etc.

FloXpress-menu

Figure 1 - Xpress tools

However, if the user has purchased and added-in a seat of SolidWorks Simulation, then SolidWorks SimulationXpress becomes unavailable and SolidWorks Simulation (which has much more functionality) is used instead. This same principle of replacement applies to all of these Xpress tools.

FloXpress
One of the tools mentioned above is SolidWorks FloXpress. This tool gives users the ability to run a simple fluid dynamics analysis on parts or assemblies. However, compared to Flow Simulation inputs as well as outputs are limited.

Inputs
The users are only able to input one inlet for one of only two fluids: Air and Water. In order to define the inlet, they only have the option of specifying one of three conditions. These are (1) Pressure, (2) Volume flow rate, and (3) Mass flow rate with only temperature to accompany any one of these conditions. Similarly, the users may specify only one outlet either as a Pressure or Volume flow rate (see Figure 2).

FlowXpress Inputs

Figure 2 - FloXpress inputs

Outputs
Velocity trajectories are the only output available after a user runs their analysis (see Figure 3). Also, users will be able to generate a brief report upon request.

FloXpress Outputs

Figure 3 - FloXpress outputs

Flow Simulation
With SolidWorks Flow Simulation, users gain access to many options for inputs and outputs. Some of the added options give the user more feedback during the solution and allows the user some control of the solver and the mesh resolution. Compared to FloXpress, the interface is re-organized to account for all the added options.

Inputs
The scope of the input within Flow Simulation includes fans, rotating regions, thermal and electrical conditions, solid material definition, a database of fluids and much more.  Many of these features are not available in FloXpress (see Figure 4).

FlowSim Inputs

Figure 4 - Flow Simulation inputs compared to FloXpress

Each one of these options gives the user much more control over their simulations.  For example, the user can specify inlets and outlets based on a velocity profile, or they can even create a fan curve as their input instead.  These too cannot be done with FloXpress alone (see Figure 5).

Input Examples

Figure 5 - Input examples: Boundary Conditions and Fans

Outputs
As for outputs, the user is able to plot and probe the results in a much wider variety of ways, some of which include creating traditional cut plots or creating 3D velocity/pressure profile plots. The depth of results that are available is drastically larger than with FloXpress as well (see Figure 6).

Output Examples

Figure 6 - Output Example: Flow trajectories and others

Conclusion
If you are looking to run a simple one inlet and one outlet Flow Simulation with just Air or Water, FloXpress may give you some useful feedback on general fluid velocities.  If you are looking to do anything more than this, my recommendation is to give Flow Simulation a try to see what it may do for you.

Shaun BentleyShaun Bentley
DASI Solutions

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