Included with every license of SolidWorks is access to two express versions of the Finite Element Analysis products that SolidWorks offers, SimulationXpress and FloXpress. These tools offer us the ability to perform a first-pass analysis of our parts to aid in our design.
Here is an example of how the FloXpress tool can be used to analyze a ball valve on a pipe assembly. This assembly has several configurations of the valve, for this case we will use the 60 degrees open configuration.
To prepare an assembly to be analyzed, we will want to cap any openings so that a single enclosed volume is left. To do so, I have added a few in-context parts to the assembly at either end of my pipes. We are now ready to launch the FloXpress tool.
The first step within the analysis is to check the fluid volume that we will be using. We can see this highlighted region in the graphics area.
Here is a close up top view of the ball valve showing the fluid volume in our area of interest.
After confirming our fluid volume, we will define conditions for the inlet and outlet of our flow. In this case I have defined an inlet mass flow rate of .005 m^3/s. For the outlet, I have defined standard static pressure as though it were exposed to air. At this point, we are ready to run the analysis.
After running this study, we can display the result plots. Here we can see a plot of the velocity of the fluid through the valve. These result plots can be animated to show the flow of the water through the valve more clearly. From the still image we can see the pipes with the dark blue color indicating slow flow doubling back in an area with recirculation.