I recently came across an interesting article written by Stewart Bible from Resolved Analytics about a group of CFD software which he calls CAD Embedded CFD – Part 1 of Stewart’s CFD Software Comparison Series.


While pushing simulation forward in the design cycle has the potential to reduce costly engineering change orders, getting there is not as simple as making CFD analysis available to designers within their 3D CAD interfaces they are familiar with. Stewart’s article discusses two established leaders in this market segment: SolidWorks Flow Simulation from Dassault Systèmes and Inventor Autodesk CFD from Autodesk, and Discovery Live, a relative newcomer from ANSYS. While none of these products have the full multi-physics capabilities of comprehensive CFD packages, they will be a good fit for users who desire CAD integration and have repeatable workflows and limited multi-physics requirements.


SolidWorks Flow Simulation may be considered the most “CAD embedded” CFD program in this class and has grown significantly in capabilities over the last decade. However, there are some drawbacks such as a lack of advanced meshing capabilities and suspect numerical efficiency.



Autodesk CFD is not technically CAD embedded, but connectivity between simulation files and the original 3D CAD model can be maintained by following the correct procedures. The software does an adequate job of covering most of the basics, although the work-flow feels a bit broken up. The finite element solver it employs is much slower than comparable finite volume solvers and post-processing lacks pizazz.





ANSYS Discovery Live is a bit like the “cool dad” of the software industry right now with its new call-to-action “utility over accuracy.” The Lattice-Boltzmann simulations are inherently time-dependent, resulting in appealing flow visualizations showing unsteady behavior, and the modifications to a geometry can be introduced into the simulation with ease. However, this technology is quite new and realistically only tinkerers and inventors will be using it for now. If you want to see it work, check out Stewart’s 15-minute video on Youtube.





For more information about these three “CAD Embedded CFD Tools” read Stewart Bible’s article HERE. And watch out for more news about ANSYS Discovery Live from UberCloud.