A fan is a device that drives the fluid in a particular direction or pattern in an environment. Fan plays a vital role in a thermal analysis by driving the hot air to the ambience and/or by providing good circulation of air in an enclosure.
In an electronic enclosure such as computers and laptops, refrigerators, etc., the role of fan is very important not only to cool the components but also to maintain them at an optimal temperature for the maximum performance.
In SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, the library contains three types of fans: Internal Fan, External Inlet Fan and External Outlet Fan.
An Internal Fan is used to direct and/or to recirculate the fluid flow in an enclosure. To use internal fan, the user must select two faces where the Fluid enters the fan, and the Fluid exists the fan respectively. Since both sides of the fan are in contact with the fluid within the computational domain, the fluid static pressure difference between the sides governs fluid passage through the fan in accordance with characteristics of the selected fan. For an instance, hair dryer uses an internal fan.
An Internal Fan in a hair dryer
In the above figure, the internal fan is designated to a block by defining the fluid intake and fluid output faces. The green arrows indicate the direction of the fluid flow on the selected fan faces. The fluid entering the fan is directed and recirculated with the higher velocity towards the exit of the hair dryer.
EXTERNAL INLET FAN:
An External Inlet Fan is used to draw the air from the ambience into an enclosure and acts as an inlet boundary condition. To specify an External Inlet Fan, the face that is in contact with the fluid in the domain is selected, where the fan is originally installed in the model.
An External Inlet Fan in an Electronic Enclosure
In the above enclosure, an external inlet fan is used to act as an inlet for the ambient air to enter the enclosure. The arrow marks on the face of the fan indicates the direction of the fluid flow. It is used to cool down the rising temperatures of the components such as Capacitors, Transistors, Heat Sink etc., This can be observed from the above picture, as the air temperature is higher at the Heat Sink, Capacitors. In this way, an external inlet fan helps the fluid domain to cool the components at a faster rate. This is very similar to a blower fan.
EXTERNAL OUTLET FAN:
An External Outlet Fan is used to create an outlet flow to the model i.e., the fluid is sent out from the domain and acts as an outlet boundary condition. To specify an External Outlet Fan, the internal face of a lid closing an outlet opening, where a fan is originally installed in the physical model.
An External Outlet Fan in an Electronic Enclosure
In the above case, the fan draws the hot air inside an enclosure and pushes it out to the ambient. It is very similar to that of an exhaust fan. Here, the user can observe the raise in temperature at the location of fan compared to that of the external inlet fan.
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