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  Flotherm is 3D simulation software for thermal design of electronic components and systems; first released in 1988, it is a product of UK-based software company Flomerics. As of 2007, the current release of the progam is version 7.1.

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FLOTHERM is powerful 3D simulation software for thermal design of electronic components and systems. It enables engineers to create virtual models of electronic equipment, perform thermal analysis and test design modifications quickly and easily in the early stages of the design process well before any physical prototypes are built. FLOTHERM uses advanced CFD (computational fluid dynamics) techniques to predict airflow, temperature and heat transfer in components, boards and complete systems.

Unlike other thermal simulation software, FLOTHERM is an industry-specific analysis tool specially designed for a wide range of electronic applications that include:

- computers and data processing
- telecommunications equipment and network systems
- semiconductor devices, ICs and components
- aerospace and defense systems
- automotive and transportation systems
- consumer electronics

FLOTHERM features specialization, built-in intelligence and automation not found in traditional analysis software. This functionality maximizes productivity for thermal design experts, minimizes the learning curve for mechanical design engineers and provides the highest levels of return on investment available from analysis software.

In a small to medium-sized company, FLOTHERM can pay for itself several times over in just one year and even faster as the size of the company increases. Experience the benefits of using FLOTHERM for thermal design of electronics, that include:

- solving thermal problems before hardware is built
- reducing design re-spins and product unit costs
- improving reliability and overall engineering design

It enables engineers to create virtual models of electronic equipment, perform thermal analysis and test design modifications in the early stages of the design process before any physical prototypes are built. The package uses CFD computational fluid dynamics techniques to predict airflow, temperature and heat transfer in components, boards and complete systems. The calculations are performed in an iterative fashion.


FLOTHERM features the most complete and technically advanced model creation environment for the thermal design of electronics. Models that range in scale from single ICs on a PCB to full racks of electronics are assembled quickly from a complete set of SmartParts (intelligent model creation macros) that are supplied with FLOTHERM or from or from a large list of suppliers from around the globe that use FLOTHERM. SmartParts capture modeling expertise that has been developed within Flomerics over the past 15 years to streamline model creation, minimize solve times and maximize solution accuracy.

Grid in FLOTHERM is associated with SmartParts and is generated as part of the model assembly process with refinement under user control. This methodology is intuitive and straightforward enabling engineers to focus on design rather than analysis. Gridding is instantaneous and reliable in FLOTHERM as compared to traditional tools that require significant time and expertise to master. Finally, FLOTHERM is the only analysis software with object-associated grid that eliminates re-gridding for each model modification.

FLOTHERM also features the industry’s best solution for integration with MCAD and EDA software. Native data from Pro/Engineer, Solidworks, Catia, Allegro and other MCAD and EDA software can be imported into FLOTHERM. Unlike other CAD to analysis interoperability solutions, FLOTHERM automatically prepares the geometry for efficient and accurate analysis.

FLOTHERM grid is structured-Cartesian - the most stable and numerically efficient type of grid available. The ability to localize is also included for finer resolution where it is needed, minimizing solution time and avoiding the penalty of grid cells that “bleed”.

-Complete set of SmartParts (intelligent model creation macros)
-Multi-level SmartParts (compact and detailed representations in a single object)
-Explorer-style project manager with drag-and-drop functionality
-CAD-style, mouse-driven drawing board using simple draw, drag and drop operations to create and manipulate geometry
-Structured-Cartesian grid that can be “localized” and nested to minimize solve times and enable multi-scale modeling
-Full control of grid constraints for fine, local and global refinement
-Object-associated grid that combines model creation and grid generation into a single step

Automatic Sequential Optimization SmartPart-based modeling and structuredcartesian grid enable a feature called “automatic sequential optimization” that is unique to FLOTHERM. This allows users to specify a design goal and then let FLOTHERM do the hard work of finding the right combination of design variables that meet the goal. Common applications of this feature include optimization for heat sink design, PCB component placement, fan/blower selection and other common design scenarios. Automatic sequential optimization enables engineers to find design margin or production cost savings that were impractical in the past.

Design of Experiments Parametric Studies As an alternative to automatic sequential optimization, a design of experiments (DoE) can be constructed that will automatically analyze the full range of all possible combinations of parametric variations. These models can be solved on a distributed network of computers using the unique “Volunteer” solution technology.

Solver For over 15 years, the FLOTHERM solver has specifically addressed electronics cooling applications. The solver, based on a cartesian gridding system results in the most accurate results possible and the fastest solution time per grid cell. Massive disparency in geometric length scales are resolved using the unique ‘localized-grid’ technique which allows for integrally matched, nested, non-conformal grid interfaces between different parts of the solution domain. The conjugate nature of heat transfer within electronic systems is concurrently solved using a preconditioned conjugate residual solver together with a flexible cycle multi-grid solution technique. Pragmatic, unique and accurate solution termination criteria produce useful results in engineering, not academic, time scales.

Transient Analysis The powerful transient analysis capabilities in FLOTHERM also allow for prediction of a number of different transient behaviors. Time dependent power dissipation in components can be defined via .csv import of power versus time data. An accurate prediction of the thermal response of the component temperature, in time, may then be produced without the conservative assumption of constant “steady state” power consumption.

-Concurrent solution for convective, conductive and radiative heat transfer
-Solution termination optionally based on convergence of user defined monitor points
-Multi-fluids capability
-Ability to simulate either turbulent or laminar flow (turbulent models - revised algebraic, LVEL algebraic, Standard k-e, revised k-e)
-Definition in transient variation in terms of linear ramping, power increase, exponential increase, sinusoidal, periodic or imported .csv pointwise variations
-Fully automatic radiation exchange and view factor calculation
-Automatic solar loading boundary conditions

Visualization The FLOTHERM visualization toolset is developed specifically to maximize productivity for cooling design of electronics. Fully rendered models, 3D flow animation and tools for dynamic manipulation of temperature, and flow results, enable engineers to pinpoint thermal issues and visualize design improvements quickly and effectively. Texture mapping and AVI output enables communication of thermal-design concepts with non-technical colleagues.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Flotherm". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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