To run a simulation, you must have previously created a mesh. The mesh name will appear on the project tree on the left side of the SOLIDCast main screen. Highlight this mesh name, then from the menu bar select Mesh… Start Simulation. The following window will appear:
You can select to run either a single cycle (such as a sand or investment casting) or a multiple-cycle permanent mold simulation.
If you have added Fill Material to a model and if you have the FLOWCast Fluid Flow module installed, you will have a box labeled Fill Algorithm, and will have the choice of using the simple SOLIDCast fill algorithm, or the FLOWCast Quick or FLOWCast Full algorithms.
You can also select the criterion that the system uses to stop the simulation and consider it to be complete. The most common stop criterion is for the system to end the simulation when the casting and risers are 100% solid.
To start the simulation running, click on OK.
If you selected the SOLIDCast fill algorithm, you will see a graphic picture of the casting filling while the simulation is running, such as in the following image:
Once filling is complete, the display will switch over to a summary screen, showing the relative temperatures in the model and other information. If you have unchecked the box in System Parameters that controls the graphic display during simulation, you will see a text screen which lists a summary of simulation progress. A sample simulation screen is shown here:
You can minimize the windows associated with the simulation and use the computer for other programs such as word processing while the simulation is running.
Once the simulation is complete, you are ready to start plotting results.
Stopping and Restarting Simulations
In order to stop a simulation such that partial results can be plotted, or so that the simulation can later be restarted from the same point and completed, it is necessary to view the project tree that the simulation is running.
When you run a simulation, you will notice that two windows appear. One window is titled LASTIT (this is the window pictured on the previous page) and the other is titled SIM5QW. In order to view the project tree, you need to minimize both of these windows. This can be done by clicking on the “Minimize” button (the button with a short horizontal line) in the upper right corner of each of these windows. This will minimize these windows so that they appear on the Windows Task Bar, and the SOLIDCast window with the model and the project tree will appear on the screen. This may appear as follows:
On the project tree, which appears on the left side of this screen, you will see an entry for this simulation. To stop the simulation, double-click on the icon next to the simulation on the project tree. A window similar to the following will appear:
To stop the simulation, click on the button labeled Stop Sim. This will cause the simulation to stop, and the system will create data that can be plotted to show whatever results are available. Note that at this point it is possible to exit from the SOLIDCast system without losing any data. At any later point in time, it will be possible to load the project and restart the simulation to allow it to continue to completion.
To restart a simulation, double-click on the simulation icon on the project tree. You will see a window similar to the following:
By clicking on the button labeled Restart Sim, the simulation will be restarted and will run from the point at which it was interrupted.
Note that if you plot intermediate data from an interrupted simulation, the data may be incomplete and the plots may appear to be incomplete. For example, plotting Solidification Time for the above incomplete simulation shows the following result (Note: See following units for details on how to plot Solidification Time):
This plot obviously has some data missing, due to the fact that the simulation has not completed, and only partial data is available. However, this type of image may often be enough to establish a general idea of what is happening inside the casting, and may be used to obtain a preliminary answer as to whether a given rigging design appears to be working. Sometimes this may be enough to evaluate a design and indicate whether a redesign is necessary, before a simulation has completely finished.