Flomerics has released Version 7 of its Flotherm electronics
thermal analysis software featuring a new Response Surface
Optimization capability that Flomerics believes is unrivalled in
computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis software. Earlier
versions of Flotherm included a sequential optimization capability
allowing users to specify combinations of design parameters and
iterate sequentially towards the best design. The new Response
Surface Optimization goes further by fitting a 3D surface to the
entire design space, enabling engineers to visualize the complete
interaction of the design parameters with the design goal as well
as identifying the optimum to a greater degree of accuracy.
The user begins Flotherm’s optimization process by defining design goals in the form of a “cost function”, and the ranges over which key design parameters may be varied. The cost function may be a single, simple value such as the junction temperature of a particular component, or a complex linear combination of values including weighting. Flotherm automatically creates and runs the required number of simulations to explore the entire design space in the most cost-effective way.
Flotherm’s new optimization module then generates a “response surface” showing the value of the design goals for all the combinations of variables that were run. The response surface can be viewed through either a 2D or 3D chart window making it easy to visualize the sensitivity of the cost function to changes in particular design parameters. The optimum value of the cost function is automatically identified and saved as a new project file. This project file can then be solved to confirm the global optimum.
The ability to visualize the entire design space and the response surface brings many benefits including: better design insight and intuition; rapid determination of which design parameters are crucial and which are unimportant; instant assessment of the effects of manufacturing variations, and so on. Common real-world applications of the optimization process include: heat sink design; PCB component placement; fan/blower selection and the location of vents.
Another important new capability of Flotherm Version 7 is the ability to embed arbitrary conductive thermal resistor networks within the overall fluid dynamics simulation. This enables semiconductor packages with high levels of internal complexity such as multi-chip modules to be represented simply but accurately using combinations of several thermal resistances. In addition, the ability to define thermal capacitances within the resistor network allows for the transient response of the model to be predicted.
Flotherm Version 7 includes a new SmartPart that models heat pipes accurately – an important capability as heat pipes are becoming more common especially in space-constrained consumer electronics. Flotherm 7 also includes the ability to import 2D DXF files and extrude them directly into 3D shapes – this is particularly useful for representing copper fills, pads and vias in printed circuit boards generated by leading EDA software tools. Flotherm’s all-new Visual Editor post-processing window boasts “fly-through” and “fly-by” results animation; a new easier data entry/edit method based on property sheets; a Japanese user interface; and numerous other performance enhancing features.
For more information, visit Flomerics' Web site at www.flomerics.com
Date: May 8, 2007