SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation – Intercooler

“Sure… my car is fast but is it really fast enough?”. A thought on the mind of petrol heads (admittedly, just like me) the world over. In truth, it probably is but it could always be a little faster, right?
A popular power boosting modification is to swap out your intercooler for a larger unit but how does this help? Well let’s use SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation to find out.

We’ll begin by adding lids to the inlet and outlet of the intercooler (highlighted in red) because we intend to run an internal analysis. Next we’ll use the intuitive Flow Simulation wizard interface to start building our study.

After being compressed to almost 2 bar by the turbo forced induction air can get hot! As the intercoolers job is to lower this temperature as rapidly as possible we’re definitely interested in heat conduction in this study.

Next, our general study setting. -3c (270k) ambient should simulate the Scottish summer nicely. We’ll also add a Velocity parameter in the z direction of 31 m/s (70mph) to simulate the car travelling along a typical motorway at speed.

For the boundary conditions we’ll keep it simple. 15m/s of 30c air at the inlet and static pressure on the outlet:


SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation - intercooler inlet SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation - Intercooler outlet

The cut plot and flow trajectory results show a dramatic drop in outlet temperature, around 25c! This colder, denser air means a bigger combustion bang resulting in more power and, according to SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, the bigger the better

Looks like the cost and skinned knuckles from fitting were worth it after all. Happy tuning fellow petrol heads!


Grant Davidson is a Senior Applications Engineer at TMS CADCentre, a SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller in Scotland.  You can read more from Grant on the TMS CADCentre blog

TMS CADCentre is a SOLIDWORKS Reseller based in Scotland providing CAD Design Software, analysis software & product data management software. Founded in 1981, TMS CADCentre is the only UK SOLIDWORKS Reseller based and funded within Scotland and have been providing SOLIDWORKS software, training and support since 1996 when the product was first launched in the UK.