What's the deal with surface bodies for thermal simulations?

I have to perform a thermal calculation with a lot of sheet metal parts. If I understood correctly, I could midplane all of those into surface bodies and perform thermal studies with those.

  • Does using surface bodies bring faster results? (I'm guessing so, but just to make sure...)
  • Are the results accurate? More or less than a 3D body?
  • Can I use surface bodies and solid bodies in a thermal study? Will it generate weird artifacts somehow?

More in general, what's your experience with surface bodies? Are there good resources to learn more about them?


  • HMHassanHMHassan PakistanMember

    Start with 2D/surface body and check your requirements (What you want at the output).

    2D vs 3D simulations depends on the Geometry and physics you want to solve.

  • fdinhfdinh Member
    edited August 25

    Thank you for your reply.

    I would like the temperature distribution of a surface radiated by a metal box.

    This metal box has an outer shell (a sheet metal with some holes in it) and a heater inside.

    Basically how it works is that the heater inside the metal box heats the shell (up to a temperature of approx. 500°C), and by consequence this metal box heats up by radiation another surface close to it. This surface receives the heating radiation from the sheet metal and from the heater, through the holes.

    The sheet metal needs an accurate thermal characterization because it is an important element in the heat exchange, thus I was wondering if midsurfacing would help or not.

  • Hi,

    As mentioned by @HMHassan , a 2D approximation (vs. 3D model) is very much depended on the geometry as well as the physics you are trying to solve. For conduction through the metal, if the material is highly conducting and the overall temperature profile (across its thickness) is likely uniform (compare the conduction resistance vs. (convection) radiation in your case), then you can treat it as a 2D element. Otherwise, if you don't think this is the case, then I'd model it as 3D.

    I hope this helps.



  • fdinhfdinh Member

    Thanks Kremella.

    Given those assumptions, if I model a 3d body with a 2d body, can I gain much in terms of computational time?

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