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62 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2015 article by Boris Marovic and John Wilson MenTOr grAPhiCS COrPOrATiOn The only constant in automotive lighting design seems to be the need for thermal man- agement. This task is often done with com- putational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software because creating prototypes for each design iteration is slow and costly. Traditional CFD simulations are done by analysts who have specialized skills in advanced mathematics and fluid dynamics, plus a command of the com- plex modeling tools required for CFD work. The analyst has to assign grids to the solids and flow spaces, creating an optimized computing mesh. This mesh aids in setting boundary conditions and influences the solution convergence as well as accuracy of the result. CFD mesh generation for creating an accu- rate thermal model of a new lighting system is time-consuming. Even before the mesh is gen- erated, the geometry from the CAD model has to be simplified to be able to run CFD analy- sis. The actual geometry of a headlight includes many fine details, such as the saw-tooth struc- ture of the light guides, small ribs on the reflec- tor, bezels for the stray light creation onto the road signs above the road, or the small facet- ted surfaces of the orange plastic on the turn- ing signal light. These structures are a challenge to tackle in the meshing process. And typically, when the CFD mesh is finally completed af- ter several days of manual work, the design is Analyzing Condensation and Evaporation in Headlights with Thermal Simulation Figure 1: Automotive headlights have to function in harsh and variable conditions.

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