Physics in Design: Real-time Numerical Simulation Integrated into the CAD Environment

Marijn P. Zwier, Wessel W. Wits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)


As today's markets are more susceptible to rapid changes and involve global players, a short time to market is required to keep a competitive edge. Concurrently, products are integrating an increasing number of functions and technologies, thus becoming progressively complex. Therefore, efficient and effective product development is essential. For early design phases, in which a large portion of the product cost is determined, it is important that different concepts can be developed and evaluated quickly. An established way of evaluating a design is using numerical methods, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA). However, setting up numerical simulations in early design phases when concepts change repeatedly is time consuming. This is largely due to the fact that for each design change concepts need to be re-meshed, boundary conditions re-applied and solutions re-calculated. In this paper, a framework is proposed that establishes a real-time connection between the CAD environment and FEA software. Simulation results are automatically updated when the CAD model is updated. Partial re-meshing and smart boundary condition re-application techniques allow for a real-time assessment of design changes. The developed framework is especially interesting for the assessment of multi-physics phenomena in early design phases, as multiple fields can be interpreted by a design engineer that is usually specialized in a specific field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-103
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • CAD while engineering
  • Early product development
  • GPGPU numerical simulations
  • Physics in design
  • Real-time design analysis


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