Robin Bornoff's blog

Views and insights into the concepts behind electronics cooling with a specific focus on the application of FloTHERM to the thermal simulation of electronic systems. Investigations into the application of FloVENT to HVAC simulation. Plus the odd foray into CFD, non-linear dynamic systems and cider making.

25 February, 2014

Electronic products, and products that contain electronics, are typified by being constructed of 100s if not 1000s of individual parts. A CPU alone is the most complex manufactured product on earth as demonstrated in this excellent picture story on Tom’s Hardware. From the IC through package, PCB and chassis, items are glued, cured, soldered, screwed and assembled into the myriad of products that run through every aspect of modern life. Engineering in all its forms is driving humanity forward into a future that will be as glorious as it will be inevitable and will one day see us burst out from our planet and on to a galactic diaspora. A future far flung from FloTHERM V10′s much enhanced ‘find’ capability :)

Read the rest of this entry »

, ,

14 February, 2014

FloTHERM V10 is a major release that marks 25 years as the leading electronics thermal simulation tool. This series will introduce the top 10 features that we’ve delivered, hopefully giving some insights not just on the features themselves, but also on the background as to how and why we’ve developed them. To start with let’s look at the most obvious change, a new graphical user interface (GUI).

Read the rest of this entry »

, ,

15 January, 2014

The latest release of FloTHERM, V10, is now available! It is a major release, satisfying over 40 software enhancement requests as posted and voted on by the FloTHERM userbase on the Mentor IDEAS site. The release addresses user feedback regarding pre-processing model definition and debugging, vastly improves the performance of the CFD solver, extends FloTHERM’s transient simulation capability into the realms of thermostatic control modelling, allows for temperatures to be exported to act as boundary conditions for an FEA thermo-mechanical stress/strain simulation and increases the range of application of FloTHERM to handle Data Center cooling with the introduction of Rack and Cooler ‘SmartPart’ modelling objects.

I’ll be blogging about each of these productivity enhancing features over the coming weeks. To start with however, if you are interested in finding out more about this release, I will be introducing this version and its new capabilities in a webinar on Thursday January 23rd. Register now!

http://www.mentor.com/products/mechanical/events/flotherm-v10-0—what-s-new

Hampton Court, 15th January 2014

, ,

10 January, 2014

Simulation should never be done for its own sake. 3D computational simulation is still a relatively young technology in the grand scheme of things, akin to the automotive industry of 100 years ago where drivers were more like engineers, they had to be to use the car. Coming up with a design solution is analogous to getting to your destination in a car, it’s also quicker than walking. That’s why I relish the opportunity to demonstrate the use of simulation to design something better. In this case I’m going to try to put all the things we’ve learnt over the last few blogs together and try to design a better flower pot heater.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , ,

18 December, 2013

Have you ever wondered why, after a winter night, some of your car windows are iced over whilst others are not? Happens after a clear night with no clouds. To understand the reason one must appreciate the fact that something loses heat, and thus gets cold, for two reasons; losing heat to the local air by convection and losing heat to any colder surrounding object due to thermal radiation. On a cold clear night those windows of your car that have a clear line of sight to the cold night sky will lose heat quickly due to radiative exchange with something big that is effectively at about -270 degC – space. Windows that only see your (relatively warm) house will not lose as much heat, stay warmer and thus not freeze. If you can, park under a tree. If you can afford one, park in a garage.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , ,

9 December, 2013

It’s always nice to get some comments on your blog. When starting writing blogs about 4 years ago I was told that so long as you write about something that you’re interested in, then others will read it. Comments are the echo to what otherwise would be a Demosthenes type shouting at a roaring sea of disinterest. So when a colleague here at Mentor, Dave Roberts, commented on Part 3 of this series as to whether the flower pots might act as storage heaters and thus provide additional value, I was obliged to use simulation to investigate this.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

27 November, 2013

Dylan in his original YouTube video made the point that the tea lights only burn for about 4 hours and that he replaces them after the morning burn for an afternoon warm up session. At 1p per candle, 1p/~35W, we shouldn’t lose sight of how cost effective this heating method is. There is some doubt as to the actual power dissipation for each candle but this approach is scalable, if a 4 candle arrangement isn’t enough, then just consider using 2 or 3 such candle+flower pot arrangements! Let’s continue to compare and contrast the effect of using the flower pots, or not, in the context of how warm the room air gets after 4 hours.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

19 November, 2013

We often do things that we intuitively feel are beneficial, often without realising just why. One of the beauties of simulation is its ability to provide insight into a physical phenomena or design. Sometimes described a a computational experiment, simulation can do more, and more easily, in terms of ‘measuring’ a system. I’ve applied this advantage to help describe why putting a couple of flowerpots on top of some tealights is a good thing for room heating.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,

18 November, 2013

Dylan Winter, boat owner, film maker and blogger, made a youtube video about a year ago showing how four tealights (small candles) can be used to warm up a small well insulated home office. A couple of weeks ago the video went viral, now having ranked up nearly 2.5 millions views. A couple of friends pinged me to see if I could help explain why this apparent miracle in home heating worked. Some pacing around, gazing into space and simulation time later I think I might have an answer.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

14 November, 2013

Late in 1988 two key employees of CHAM (Concentration Heat And Momentum Ltd.), the first commercial CFD vendor and at the time market leader, left to set up a new type of CFD company. Recognising the opportunity to package CFD in focussed, highly automated and application specific products, David Tatchell and Harvey Rosten started to develop what would become FloTHERM. A CFD simulation tool targeted at simulating electronics system to predict its thermal behaviour, allowing designers to design in thermal compliance of their products well before having to resort to physical build+test.

Read the rest of this entry »

,