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Hints and Tips - An Overview of FLOW-3D Cast

FLOW-3D Cast is a specialized version of FLOW-3D designed specifically for simulating casting engineers' applications. The article below outlines some helpful hints and tips about how to use the software that will help FLOW-3D Cast users run efficient and accurate simulations.

Understanding Priority in Geometry Interpretation

Geometry Interpretation is used to determine what volume an STL file will comprise at the start of a simulation. If a given volume in the mesh is occupied by more than one STL (overlapping of geometries), then the STL geometry having a higher order or "Priority" will be considered to be the dominant one in the overlapping volume.

There can be several materials representing the various components in a casting. Each material with different properties has to be defined using different CAD geometry STL files, e.g., Casting, Core, Chill, Filters, Insulating Materials (Sleeves & Refractory), etc.

Setting priorities to the CAD files is important because the Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC) between different materials will affect the casting solidification pattern. For instance, if a chill is placed lower in priority than a gas region, then in an overlapping volume of the chill and gas, the effects of the chill will not be considered in the heat transfer calculation.

Setting geometry priority in FLOW-3D Cast, a metal casting simulation software

Drag-and-Drop STL Files to Import Geometry

Importing geometries one-by-one can be time consuming, especially if they are in large numbers. To reduce the geometry importing time, select all the STL files that are required for the simulation from a folder, and drag-and-drop all those selected CAD files to the new *.SPF file created. Now all the CAD models (STL) files are ready for "Geometry Interpretation." If any of the geometries need to be repositioned, select Flow/Geometry/Reposition Objects. Importing geometries this way does not affect the priority in the geometry.

Open *.SPF Files using Drag-and-Drop

Drag and drop option for *.SPF file works the same way as it does for importing STL files. Select the *.SPF to be viewed  and drag it onto the FLOW-3D Cast GUI to open the file.

Adding Valves, Pointers and Metal Inputs Graphically

An easy way to add Valves, Pointers or Metal input is by using the "Pick a point" button. Select the point on the geometry and then select either “Go to Pointers” or ‘Go to Valves” or “Go to Inputs.”

Generating Valves and Pointers Inside the Geometry

When a point is selected on a geometry using "Pick a point" button, the point is generated on the surface of the geometry. To place the pointers inside the geometry, the user must shift the coordinate value of the point along the corresponding axis. Another way to place pointers inside the geometry is by using the “Clipping” option and then selecting the point of interest to generate the pointers.

Valve and pointer generation in FLOW-3D Cast, casting simulation software

Scan Along an Axis to View Defects Inside the Geometry

To locate defects inside the casting, look at the cut sections along each axis. The FLOW-3D Cast Postprocessing window makes it easy to scan through a given axis (X,Y,Z). The casting geometry is placed in a convenient orientation and the user can select the desired axis for sectioning the casting. The surface color variable of interest can be Microporosity, Surface Defect, Air Entrainment, Solid Fraction, etc.

Simulation casting defects using FLOW-3D Cast's postprocessing options

FAVORizing Geometry

The FAVORize option resolves only Open Volume (gas regions). To check if a solid object like a Chill or Core is well resolved by the mesh:

FLOW-3D Custom Variables

While entering values for custom variable parameters, one has to ensure that units are in the CGS system. This is because when FLOW-3D Cast passes these values to the solver, there is a conversion.

Load and Clear Calculation Results from the *.SPF File

The *.SPF is a document file that stores all information about the simulation such as geometry, meshing, materials selected, calculation results, etc. At the end of a simulation, the calculation results are compressed and stored in the*.SPF file. Results can be cleared from the *.SPF file, e.g., so that you can transfer the file over email. Select Flow/Result data/Clear calculation results.

Results can be loaded into the *.SPF again from 'flsgrf' file in *.cal folder. Select Flow/Result data/Load calculation results from the solver.

Merging Simulation Results

Results from two different simulations (two *.SPF files) can be merged. This is very useful while merging restart simulations for viewing filling and solidification continuously.

Merging restart simulations in FLOW-3D Cast for filling and solidification simulations

Saving and Loading View Angles

The user can save the orientation of the casting at which it was placed and view the same orientation the next time.

Setting the casting orientation in FLOW-3D Cast

Generate Custom Sand Material using the Sand Tool

The Sand tool can be used to create custom sand materials used for cores or sand molds. The user can enter the percentage of Silica, moisture, clay, etc. and add it as a material in the material database.

Custom sand materials can be created in FLOW-3D Cast using the Sand tool.

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