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Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute
Helping Local Companies Solve Thermal Issues with CFD Tools

Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute (NMIRI) is a public research institute in Nagoya city that provides test and analysis support to small/medium sized companies in cooperation with local industries. When the client's work involves thermal management, the engineers at NMIRI use Software Cradle simulation tools to perform the simulations. The engineers also use these tools for their own basic research and to verify the performance of test instrumentation.


Fig. 1 Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute

Mr. Yasushi Kajita (Doctor of Engineering)
System technology department
Production system laboratory
Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute

 NMIRI has been in operation since 1937. Over the years, it has demonstrated its value to local industries and established itself as a key contributor of test and analysis methods. A large part of the NMIRI portfolio is related to the automotive industry which has thrived in Nagoya. With a wide variety of measurement techniques and equipment, the institute has more than 80 engineers and is one of the largest public testing laboratories and research institutes in Japan. It specializes in three major areas of research: materials, electronics, and machinery. To encourage local companies to advance their technical capabilities, NMIRI provides technical support for no charge and also assists in conducting tests. They are also available to conduct joint research with their partners, while also providing classroom and on-site training.

Growing Demand for Thermal Management

 NMIRI has also various analytical tools for structural and thermal-fluid analyses. Yasushi Kajita, a member of the NMIRI system technology department's production system laboratory, provides consultation and technical support for thermal management of electronic devices. Mr. Kajita is also responsible for resolving manufacturing mold thermal design issues that occur in the automotive industry.

 Requests for assistance with thermal related issues have become more and more common at NMIRI. Electronics related inquiries account for 60-70% of Mr. Kajita's consultations. Most of the remaining inquiries deal with mechanical products such as mold cooling systems. Mr. Kajita primarily uses Cradle HeatDesigner thermal-fluid analysis software for electronics to perform his analyses. Although HeatDesigner is primarily designed for electronics, Mr. Kajita has also adapted its use for analyzing molds as well. HeatDesigner's ease of use, simplicity, and derivation from Cradle's scSTREAM general purpose, structured grid CFD software, made this adaptation by Mr. Kajita possible. Mr. Kajita performs the analyses himself, and encourages his clients to also use HeatDesigner.

 NMIRI first started using CFD in 2005. Around this time, Mr. Kajita was also sensing the need to investigate the use of CFD because his clients were starting to explore the technology. Mr. Kajita felt that by developing in-depth knowledge and skill in CFD, he could provide greater value to NMIRI's partner companies. NMIRI uses the full range of Cradle CFD products, including SC/Tetra, scSTREAM, HeatDesigner, and CADthru. Mr. Kajita has developed his expertise with HeatDesigner and believes that its user-friendly operability for beginning users is one reason HeatDesigner is so popular. NMIRI primarily uses SC/Tetra for their basic research.

Fig. 2 Heat generation amount measurement system

Developing a System for Measuring the Amount of Heat Generation

 One application where HeatDesigner plays a critical role is in the development of a system for measuring the amount of heat generation from electronic parts (Fig. 2). The system was developed in cooperation with SiM24 and the Thermal Design Laboratory that provide services for resolving electronics thermal issues. Mr. Kajita started system development in 2009 and recently started accepting purchase orders from customers interested in purchasing the system. Mr. Kajita says, "Measuring the amount of heat generation from electronic parts may seem easy, but it is actually quite difficult. The amount of heat generation is extremely important for thermal analyses. This is the first system that enables users to measure the amount of heat generation from electronic devices mounted on a circuit board." HeatDesigner is a critical component of the system during the planning and verification stages.

 To successfully perform electronics thermal management simulation, geometry data, thermo physical properties, and the amount of heat generation must be known. The geometry data can be measured, and thermal properties, such as thermal conductivity, can be obtained from manufacturers or measured at NMIRI. On the other hand, the amount of heat generation depends on the environment around the electronic devices. As a result, it is difficult to quantify. Facing this challenge, Mr. Kajita worked with the Thermal Design Laboratory to develop a measurement system to quantify the amount of heat generated from electronic components. The system is composed of heat sinks, fans, and controllers. The fan that is in contact with the electronic part is run and the amount of heat generated is measured and displayed on the computer monitor. Mr. Kajita validated the geometry of the system and the materials used for the circuit boards during the planning and validation stages of the process. At these stages, Mr. Kajita also evaluated both air-cooled and water-cooled systems. He fully utilized HeatDesigner to compare the performance between the air-cooled and water-cooled systems because changing internal materials experimentally or modifying the test system to use water would require too much time and effort. Therefore, simulating the systems with HeatDesigner is essential for development of the measuring system.

Applying HeatDesigner to Improve Measurement Accuracy

 Developing measurement systems and instrumentation is one of NMIRI's most important responsibilities. CFD tools are often used as part of the development process. One example of this is the development of the laser flash method for measuring thermal constants. This device is used to measure thermal diffusivity, specific heat capacity, and thermal conductivity of solids such as metals and ceramics. To begin the process, a target circular sample is heated by irradiating it with a pulse laser. The temperature rise on the opposite side of the irradiated surface is measured with a radiation thermometer to obtain the temperature response curve. Then the temperature response curve is used to calculate the thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity.

 These values are calculated assuming the laser light density distribution is ideal. In fact, the laser light density distribution can be uneven, and the condition of the laser light varies depending on how the light is irradiated. Furthermore, the sample may not be in an ideal condition for the calculation. As a result, the uncertainty in these factors can make the calculation difficult and introduce error.

 To solve this problem, the engineers at NMIRI compared the results between the simulation and actual measurements to determine the cause of error. This also helped to improve the accuracy of the simulation. Mr. Kajita says "It is sometimes said that low simulation accuracy causes the inconsistency in results between the simulation and actual measurements. However, the experiments are not always performed under ideal conditions." According to Mr. Kajita, simulation accuracy tends to decrease as the phenomena being modeled become more complex. However, for simple phenomena, the simulation results are more reliable than the experimental results.

*All product and service names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
*Contents and specifications of products are as of August 1, 2013 and subject to change without notice. We shall not be held liable for any errors in figures and pictures, or any typographical errors.

Institute Details


Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute
Established 1935
Operation started 1937 as Nagoya City Industrial Guidance Center
Business Technical support for small and medium-sized companies
Location Nagoya city, Aichi, Japan



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