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New Icepak Offers Enhanced Flexibility and Automation
Posted Wed November 29, 2006 @11:23AM
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News ANSYS, Inc., a global innovator of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes, today announced the release of version 4.3 of its Icepak(TM) electronics cooling design software.

This version of Icepak introduces key new technologies in the thermal design of electronic systems. Direct representation of CAD geometries expands the ability of Icepak software to handle complex geometry, providing additional flexibility and a higher degree of automation while modeling complex shapes in today's electronics components and systems.

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A new meshing technology has been introduced into the software for fast and optimal meshing of CAD geometries. Icepak 4.3 also introduces direct import of trace and via details from MCM/BRD and Gerber files of printed circuit board (PCB) layout along with a new method to accurately represent these details.

Icepak technologies are now part of the ANSYS(R) suite, from the company's recent acquisition of Fluent Inc.

Icepak software has set the standard for representing complex geometries in thermal design software for the past decade. This release further advances its capability to handle CAD shapes directly, along with the usual Icepak model-building philosophy, to create a powerful way to model complex shapes of components and systems. Direct representation of CAD geometries in the thermal design tool reduces the time and effort otherwise required during the simplification process and provides a high degree of automation to the user. The ease-of-use of direct CAD import features enables users to create thermal models of CAD geometries in a matter of minutes while increasing the range of geometric shapes that can be handled in Icepak.

The new automatic hex-dominant mesher can be used to mesh CAD geometries quickly and efficiently. It is a robust and highly automated unstructured mesh generator that can handle grids of virtually unlimited size and complexity, consisting mostly of hexahedral elements but including triangular, tetrahedral or pyramidal cells. It uses advanced meshing algorithms to allow the most appropriate cell type to be used to generate body-fitted meshes for the most general CAD geometries.

In addition, Icepak 4.3 technology offers enhanced libraries including thermo-electric cooler modules and new materials, modeling of temperature-dependent powers, enhanced macros and improved correlations for automatic specification of heat transfer coefficients.

Today's high performance electronics involve complex PCB designs including numerous trace layers and high trace densities. In the past, thermal design tools used lumped approximations to model the effect of traces and usually ignored vias altogether. Such approximations can significantly affect the accuracy of thermal simulations of PCBs containing highly non-uniform trace and via densities.

Icepak 4.3 software models the effects of traces on PCBs and package substrates by automatically generating thermal conductivity distributions based on local trace and via densities. This allows users to more accurately account for the effect of traces and vias on the thermal performance of PCBs.

"By allowing the user to seamlessly import relevant details and improve accuracy, these new capabilities in Icepak 4.3 software greatly enhance simulation-driven product design for electronic systems," says Manoj Nagulapally, Icepak product manager at Fluent Inc.

Temperature distribution
Temperature distribution on an enclosure represented using CAD-shaped geometry.

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