CFD Lesson 2: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Fluid Scenario Creation (Part 2)

  After teaching 1000’s of students and writing about SOLIDWORKS for over 25 years, David Planchard, emeritus WPI, is exploring SOLIDWORKS desktop and the integrated 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.  Through the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson series, David helps educators understand the 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer, Fluid Scenario Creation App (CFD) with simple examples and industry practices. The Platform offers are available thru your Education Partner (VAR).

Dassault Systèmes owns SOLIDWORKS and various simulation software packages. Simulation packages range from SOLIDWORKS Simulation, CATIA Analysis, Abaqus and many others. All of them are under the SIMULIA family.

In the previous CFD Lesson 1:SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Fluid Scenario Creation Part 1, we opened a SOLIDWORKS assembly that had not been saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Uploaded the assembly and saved it to a Collaborative space using an existing Bookmark.

Launched the Fluid Scenario Creation App and created an internal flow simulation that modeled the mechanical forces and dynamics of steady state fluid flow. Defined a fluid region internal to the model, specified the physics of the flow, and created a hex-dominant mesh for the fluid region.

We applied boundary conditions (inlet/outlet) and created output requests to collect pressure, flow velocity, and mass flow results.

Finally, we ran the Simulation study. Lesson 1 introduced the Physics Results Explorer App. We saved the Physics Simulation study to a Collaborative space on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

In this lesson, open a SOLIDWORKS session. Connect to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Utilize the 3DSpace widget from the MySession panel in the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane.

Your 3DEXPERIENCE | 3DDashboard is displayed. Locate the Physics Simulation study named, Ball valve in the saved Collaborative space. Use the sort by last or search method.

Launch the Fluid Scenario Creation App. Open the Ball valve Physics Simulation study. View the last displayed contour plot. Explore Help options. Create a section cut. Add streamlines to illustrate flow through the valve.

Save the Physics Simulation study. Close the study. Close the SOLIDWORKS session.


Before we start, there are a few items that you need to know.

In this lesson, use your default Collaborative space. An internet connection is required. A 3DEXPERIENCE ID is required.

The Flow Simulation lesson provides a foundation to users who are new to using simulation to solve real-world engineering and design problems. You should have a basic understanding of flow, pressure, velocity and the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method.

Before you begin this lesson, complete CFD Lesson 1: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Fluid Scenario Creation (Part 1).

A full installation of SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP0 or later is required

Login to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and Start SOLIDWORKS

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is browser driven. Your existing cookies and cache determine what you will see on your computer desktop or during a SOLIDWORKS login. A full installation of SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP0 or later is required.

Start a SOLIDWORKS session from your desktop.

Double-click the SOLIDWORKS icon.

View the illustration below. Depending on your system setup, cookies, and cache, it will be different. Read the provided information.

Input the requested data.

Click Accept All.

The Welcome – SOLIDWORKS dialog box is displayed.

You are logged into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Close the Welcome dialog box.

Click the 3DEXPERIENCE icon in the Task Pane. The MySession panel is displayed. This displays the two-way communication between SOLIDWORKS running on your desktop and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform running in the cloud.

In this lesson, I’m using a Collaborative space named Quick Start xDesign.

Note: If you do not see the 3DEXPERIENCE icon, click the Options drop-down arrow, click Add-Ins, check the 3DEXPERIENCE box, click OK, from the SOLIDWORKS Main menu.

Click Accept All if needed.

Select the Collaborative Space

Click the center of the Compass in the MySession panel.

View the available My Roles, My Cockpits, My Favorite Apps and My Apps.

Use the 3DSpace widget to view your Collaborative space, review 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 5: SOLIDWORKS,Collaborative Space and Bookmarks. A widget is an extension of the App that allows you to use it in the Dashboard. A widget is displayed with an arrow in the upper right corner of the icon as illustrated.

Drag the slider downward to view the 3DSpace widget.

Click the 3DSpace widget. Note: The 3DSpace widget is used to create a Collaborative space. The default location defines the Collaborative space (cloud storage) where your models and data are saved.

Log into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Your 3DEXPERIENCE | 3DDashboard is displayed.

In CFD Lesson 1 Part 1, I saved the Fluid Scenario Creation Simulation study (Model, Scenario and Result) in my Quick Start xDesign Collaborative space.

Double-click your Collaborative Space. In this example it is Quick Start xDesign.

Locate the Physics Simulation study (Ball valve). In this example, I use the sort by last method.

Click the Sort icon. A drop-down menu is displayed.

Select Modification date (31-1).

View the results.

Search for the Ball valve Physical Simulation

Note: You can also use the Search method. Search for the Ball valve (Physics Simulation) not the Physical Product.

Right-click Ball valve (Physics Simulation) as illustrated in the Title column below. A Pop-up menu is displayed.

Expand Open With. View your options.

Fluid Scenario Creation App

Launch the Fluid Scenario Creation App. Click the More Apps icon.

Click the Fluid Scenario Creation App.

This can take 15 – 20 seconds.

Click Restore if needed.

3DEXPERIENCE | SIMULIA Fluid Scenario is displayed.

Center the model if needed.

Review the Results: Pressure and Velocity

Expand the Result folder.

Display the last contour plot from CFD Lesson 1 Part 1.

Double-click the Result folder. The Physics Results Apps is displayed.

The last Simulation study contour plot is displayed.

Explore the Help options.

Click the Question mark icon as illustrated.

View if updates are available. View your options:

  • Get 3DEXPERIENCE Update available.
  • Get Started.
  • Help.
  • User’s Guides.
  • Tutorials.
  • User Companion.
  • About 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.


Display the Gauge Pressure.1 contour plot.

The inlet exhibits a higher pressure than the outlet.

View the Legend dialog box for the contour plot.

Double-click the contour plot as illustrated. View the Legend dialog box and options.

Close the Legend dialog box. Click Close.


The mouse cursor automatically acts as a probe.

Click a point on the model as illustrated. View the Gauge Pressure at that point. A Pop-up menu is displayed. Note: to deselect the displayed point, click in the Graphics area.

Click the Plot sectioning icon in the Pop-up menu. By default, the app creates a cutting surface at the center of the model. The normal to the plane is oriented in the global Z-direction.

View your options.



Show section and behind cut, Show section and in front of cut, Show section, Show behind cut, Show in front of cut, Show section, behind and front of cut.

Show/Hide cutting geometry and robot manipulator.

Edit cut.

Create cut surface.


Deactivate cut.

Click OK.

View the results in the Graphics area.



Display the Velocity Vector.1 contour plot. View the flow velocity in vector format.

The velocity is lowest along the boundary layer and in the corners of the inlet and outlet of the valve. It’s the highest at the restricting internal ball of the valve.

Display Streamlines

Add streamlines to illustrate the flow through the valve. Streamlines create a family of curves that are tangential to the velocity vector of the flow and show the direction of particle travel at any point in time.

Create an automatic stream. Use the defaults to define the scope and density. The scope definition tells Physics Results Explorer to display streamlines for the whole model or for the current display group only. The density is the number of streamlines across the inlet.

Display the Assistant dialog box.

Click Results.

Click Streamlines.



View the results. The streamlines display the flow path from the inlet to the outlet. Airflow is laminar at the inlet but becomes mixed as it passes through the valve and Control Ball. This turbulence is a result of abrupt turns in the valve setting.

Note: The Control Ball is set at 165 degrees from the Front Plane of the assembly.

Explore the Pop-up menu.

Click OK.

Below is an illustration of Gauge Pressure.1 with Streamlines.

Save and Close

Save the Physics Simulation study (Model, Scenario and Result).

Click the Share icon as illustrated.

Click Save.



Close the Physics Simulation study.

Click Close on the Ball valve A tab.

Return to the active SOLIDWORKS session.

Close your SOLIDWORKS Session.

The lesson is finished.

In CFD Lesson 3 Part 3, start a SOLIDWORKS session. Open the SOLIDWORKS part from CFD Lesson 2 (Part 2).

Launch the 3DSpace Widget from the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane.

Locate the Physics Simulation study named Ball valve in the saved Collaborative space. Use the sort by last method.

Launch the Fluid Scenario Creation App. Return to the active SOLIDWORKS session. Modify the Ball valve control angle from 165 degrees to 145 degrees relative to the Front Plane. This will increase flow restriction and pressure drop.

Create a new revision (B). Save the new revision (B) to the My Work folder in the 3DEXPERIENCE vault.

Load the new revision (B) into the Physics Simulation study on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform using the Collaborative Lifecycle App.

Link the Physics Simulation study with the new revision. Apply the Replace Model By Revision command.Link the Physics Simulation study to the new model revision.

Run the Physics Simulation study. View the results.

Save the Physics Simulation study.Close the Physics Simulation study. Return to SOLIDWORKS.

Delete the Simulations study Ball valve (Physics Simulation and Finite Element) along with the assembly and reference components (Physical Products) in the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Use the 3DSpace Widget from the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane.



Academic Community: After you create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID, Educators, can get more information on xDesign and SOLIDWORKS.  Request to join the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community for free at

Student Community: Students, join the student community for free at  Check out great posts on Mechanism Mondays, FEA Fridays,  Solid Saturdays (animations),  Formula Student and Formula SAE exercises.

SIMULIA Community: Students and Educations, join the SIMULIA community to learn the latest in simulation technology with the Abaqus solver, CST Studio Suite for Electro-magnetics, Antenna Magus and more.

SOLIDWORKS Community: Connect with the SOLIDWORKS community with our SOLIDWORKS User Forum, SOLIDWORKS User Groups, news and info,

SIMULIA Simulation Technology

Additional Lessons in 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Structural Analysis:

Analysis Lesson 1: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation for Diving Board

Analysis Lesson 2: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Linear Structural Validation Part 1

Analysis Lesson 3: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Linear Structural Validation Part 2

Analysis Lesson 4: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Linear Structural Validation for Assembly

Analysis Lesson 5: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Structural Model Creation


From SOLIDWORKS Desktop to the 3DXPERIENCE Platform

Additional Lessons in this series on 3DEXPERIENCE Works:

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 1: Getting Started with SOLIDWORKS and the Platform

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 2: SOLIDWORKS and Save and Revision

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 3: SOLIDWORKS and Bookmarks, Share and Delete

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 4: SOLIDWORKS and Lifecycle Maturity States

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 5: SOLIDWORKS, Collaborative Space and Bookmarks

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 6: SOLIDWORKS with Search Tools

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 7: SOLIDWORKS with 3DPlay

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 8: SOLIDWORKS with 3DDrive




Cloud Apps by SOLIDWORKS (100% Browser Based)

Additional Lessons in this series on SOLIDWORKS xDesign

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #1: Getting Started

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #2: Mouse Control and Collaborative Space

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #3: Sketch Planes

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #4: Create A Dashboard

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #5: Views and Orientations

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #6: Importing Files and Using Bookmarks

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #7: Assemblies

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #8: 4Bar Linkage and Kinematics

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #9: External References and Copy with Mates

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #10: Sketching, Constraints and Dimensions

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #11: Sketch Based and Applied Features


Design well, Marie

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard