Nextreme routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all different levels from die level to components to packages to subsystems. The level of complexity and objectives of the modeling dictate the approach.
Modeling to assess the impact of thermoelectric coolers or power generation modules on a system is usually initiated using a one-dimensional model. This involves reducing each element in the system to a single thermal node so the thermal system can be described in much the same way as an electrical circuit. The system can then be analyzed using a circuit analysis tool (e.g. SPICE). This approach works well for both static and transient thermal conditions and enables speedy determination of optimal design solutions. By tuning the granularity of the elements used it can also be extended to include more complicated systems like hot spot cooling or coarse two-dimensional temperature distributions. A circuit simulator also permits the use of a nonlinear electro-thermal equivalent sub-circuit of the TEC including electrical and thermal parasitic elements present in the module.
• SPICE (open source)
Complex systems, components or packages often require more detailed modeling to understand heat flow and thermal gradients. When such detail is required, 3-D modeling is conducted. This requires the construction of a full 3-D model as the first step. Once constructed, a numerical analysis is conducted using either a finite-element analysis (FEA) approach or computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. Numerical analyses are inherently complex and computationally rigorous. Nextreme uses the following software to support these analyses:
• Solidworks Simulation™ (FEM & CFD)
1-D Modeling using Mathematica
3-D Modeling using Solidworks