Design scenarios for fluid flow in SolidWorks Flow Simulation

A known value of CAD integrated simulation is to run “what if” scenarios as early as possible to find the best design and/or the design which fits your criteria. In SolidWorks Simulation, our users know well the tool called “Design Study.”

Did you know that the same method is available for CFD with SolidWorks Flow Simulation? The tool is called “Parametric study.” This is an incredible productive tool which enables you to perform a set of CFD calculations with variation of CAD geometry and CFD conditions.

The parametric study exists in two flavors:


Goal Optimization allows you to vary only by one selected variable parameter in order to obtain a specific parameter value, at which the selected goal of interest will be equal to the specified target value. For example, you can use the goal optimization to obtain the position of a valve’s piston so that the force acting on the piston gets balanced to the resistance force of the valve spring. Here, the force acting on the piston should be specified as the force goal and the target parameter is the spring’s resistance force specified as a function of dimension. Another example would be to determine the optimal bore diameter to achieve a certain pressure drop.


What If allows you to vary a set of selected variable parameters (such as model dimensions, boundary condition parameters, initial mesh settings. etc.) in order to analyze the selected flow parameters (defined as goals). For example, you can vary the position of internal fans, the inlet air flow velocity and track the maximum temperature value of a critical component for these variations. The beauty is that it only takes you 5 minutes to define dozens of CFD scenarios!

Based on a study defined as a baseline, to define a “What If” study you just need to

  • Set up your variables such as Dimension Parameter (example: position of the fans) and/or Boundary Condition (example: inlet air flow velocity)
  • Define what you are interested in, such as the maximum temperature value of a chip with the Output parameters.

Based on this input, SolidWorks Flow Simulation creates all the scenarios it is going to run, called the Design Points:2

You can easily add a Design Point, or suppress one which might not be relevant to your product. Once the Parametric study is run, you obtain the value of your output parameter, and your point of interest. If you would like to access the complete results of each design point, make sure to activate the ‘Save full results’ option for the desired Design Point.

For our example, we ran 24 Design Points and can compare the maximum temperature of the chip easily in the table.

Each Design Point (meaning each scenario) can be saved as a new project so you can review the best scenario in detail with all the post processing tools of SolidWorks Flow Simulation.

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Are you ready to test dozens of design ideas with CFD insight? Try the Parametric Study in SolidWorks Flow Simulation today and find your best design easily.


Want to learn more about SolidWorks Simulation? Check out our First Look at Simulation video to see how simulation could improve your own designs and reduce prototypes.

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Delphine Genouvrier

Delphine Genouvrier

Delphine Genouvrier is a Director at Dassault Systèmes