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Masoud Ameli February 28, 2005 10:00

Flotherm-Icepak comparison for electronic cooling
Here is a part of a report I made for comparing ICEPAK and Flotherm for electronic cooling applications. -----------------------------

ICEPAK Graphical user Interface (GUI) seems to be the Achilles heel. Setting up a model in ICEPAK considerably takes longer than Flotherm. Working with mouse and drag and dropping the objects (like Flotherm) is not possible or it is too hard to be worth to be used regularly). Working with coordinates of the points (as in ICEPAK) definitely is very advantageous and prevents the misalignments that occur in other way of drag and drop but in fact in 9 out of 10 cases, thermal guys do not mind about those very tiny misalignments. By the way this way of model setting up is also very much easy to use in Flotherm if user wishes.

As the model is being made up, ICEPAK does not generate a real perspective figure of the model as Flotherm does and this in addition to the before mentioned subject, make it much more difficult to work with objects that have too many parts and details.

Since ICEPAK is able to work with non-Cartesian meshes, Meshing is a very critical and time consuming process in Icepak. Meshing is naturally almost the most important part of a CFD analysis but Cartesian system of Flotherm along with its powerful automatic Mesher, lessens a lot of meshing hassle.

In Icepak it seems that convergence is more likely to achieve than in Flotherm and in shorter time as well and it probably means that Icepak has a more powerful solver.

In post processing, apparently Icepak gives user more options and flexibility than Flotherm although lack of perspectives, still remains a big problem.

In terms of support, Flotherm looks better at least in Europe. Icepak has only a single person to cover northern Europe for support (not sale) while Flotherm office in UK is a very active and busy office.

The ability of making automatic reports in Icepak sounds great but the format of prepared possible reports, do not look that good and useful.

For working on liquid cooling systems and liquid cold plates, Icepak seems to be much easier and beneficial to implement than Flotherm. Making liquid cold plates and pipe flow of liquids in Flotherm is not easy at all.

Capability of importing solid models into the Icepak does not sound to me as a merit at all. It is a very time consuming process and especially if the object is a bit more complicated than a single heat sink and cuboid, definitely it is much better to start from scratch.

Generally speaking…

• For liquid cooling systems and cold plates, Icepak is fantastic and much easier to implement than Flotherm. • Almost in every case, there is a way to simulate round shapes as cuboids without causing any considerable errors occur in results. If there is such a way and it is not too hard and time consuming to figure it out, it is easier to work in Flotherm. • If you are a professional Icepak user, you are a professional Mesher and have a good sense of CFD. (and goal keeping) • Icepak is more useful in component level analysis than system level. • Definitely it is worth to learn Icepak and benefit from its capabilities along with Flotherm. Maybe doing component level analysis in Icepak and System level analysis in Flotherm if it is worth to make two models because Icepak and Flotherm are not compatible and importable to each other. • If a case is supposed to be solved in Icepak, I guess the best way is to import its solid model into Icepak, render its major parts to Icepak objects and doing the rest of it using drawing tools of Icepak itself. • If a good CFD package means an optimum collection of GUI, Mesher, post processor and solver, it means Flotherm

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