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SimScale is a computer-aided engineering (CAE) software product based on cloud computing. SimScale was developed by SimScale GmbH and allows Computational Fluid Dynamics, Finite Element Analysis and Thermal simulations.[1][2] The backend of the platform uses open source codes:

SimScale official logo.png
Developer(s) SimScale GmbH
Initial release 2013; 5 years ago (2013)
Platform Web browser
Type Computer-aided engineering

The cloud-based platform of SimScale allows users to run more simulations, and in turn iterate more design changes, compared to traditional local computer-based systems.[3]



SimScale GmbH was founded in 2012 by five graduates of TU Munich, David Heiny, Vincenz Dölle, Alexander Fischer, Johannes Probst, and Anatol Dammer[4] with the goal of bringing CAE solutions to the mass market and provide an alternative to the traditional on-premises solutions which were the industry standard at the time. After a beta phase, the SimScale platform was launched in the second half of 2013.[5]

In 2015 SimScale announced their partnership with Onshape, introducing a connector app which allowed users to export their CAD models from Onshape and import them into SimScale.[6]

On 2 December 2015, a community plan was announced making the platform accessible for free,[7][8] as part of the initiative to democratize CAE and expand their user base of professional engineers and CAE experts to include small and medium scale enterprises, as well as students and individual product designers.[9][10]

In 2016 SimScale began their collaboration with Autodesk by developing an add-in allowing all the Fusion 360 users to easily upload their 3D CAD models directly to the SimScale platform.[11] Most recently, at the end of 2016 the SimScale Academy was launched, providing a new learning platform with on-demand courses on engineering simulation.[12]

As of December 2016, the number of subscribed SimScale users reached 80 000, and the number of simulation projects freely available in the SimScale public project library surpassed 15 000.[13]


The SimScale platform has several capabilities. Each capability with a suitable example for visualization is given below.

Finite element analysis moduleEdit

The FEA module of SimScale uses the open-source codes / solvers Code_Aster and CalculiX. These codes allow linear and nonlinear static/dynamic analysis of structures. Code_Aster is used simulations involving fatigue, damage, fracture, contact, geomaterials, porous media, multi-physics coupling and more. CalculiX has similar functionalities allowing users to build, calculate and post-process finite element models.

Linear static analysis Nonlinear static analysis Linear dynamic analysis Nonlinear dynamic analysis
Linear static analysis calculates displacements and stresses resulting from the applied load. The image describes the contour plot of stresses obtained from linear static analysis of a gripper arm. Project: Static structural analysis of a gripper arm.[14]
This image shows a nonlinear static analysis of a snap-fit. The analysis incorporates a complex physical contact behavior between the two components. The analysis is done on SimScale. Project: Contact analysis of a consumer snap fit.[15]
The image shows a stress contour plot obtained via linear dynamic analysis. The mobile is dropped from the height of 2m to get the effective deformation due to impact. Project: Linear dynamic analysis of a dropped phone.[16]
This type of analysis studies the dynamic response of a structure subjected to time-dependent loads. The image shows the impact of a skull on a rigid plate with and without helmet. Project: Dynamic nonlinear impact analysis of a human skull.[17]
Multibody dynamics Harmonic analysis Modal analysis (frequency) Material Models
This image shows a linear analysis of a multibody system. SimScale allows the import of CAD models and meshes with both individual parts and assemblies. Linear contact constraints, such as bonded / small sliding contacts, are supported. Project: Linear analysis of a multibody system.[18]
Harmonic analysis can show the peak response of a system under a load in a given range of frequencies. The image shows the contour plot of displacements. The simulation was done using the FEM software SimScale. Project: Harmonic analysis of an impeller.[19]
Modal analysis can help determine the eigenfrequencies and eigenmodes of a structure due to free vibration.This image shows the contour plot of displacements. It shows the different eigenmodes of the truss bridge. Project: Truss bridge eigenfrequency analysis.[20]
The solid mechanics tool offers various material models suitable for many engineering applications within the yield or failure limit. Different hyperelastic material models are also available for simulating highly elastic materials. Project: Stress analysis of a cardiovascular stent.[21]

Computational fluid dynamics moduleEdit

The CFD module of SimScale uses OpenFOAM for fluid flow simulations. Both steady state and transient analysis for the below types are possible. The following analysis types are possible in SimScale.

Laminar flow Turbulent flows Incompressible flow Compressible flow
Smooth flow which occurs at low velocities - the image shows laminar fluid flow in a cleanroom. The analysis was done using the CFD component of the SimScale platform. Project: Laminar fluid flow in a cleanroom.[22]
Rough flows which usually happen when the velocity crosses a threshold - an example would be the turbulent fluid flow in a cyclone separator. Project: Turbulent fluid flow in a cyclone separator.[23]
Referred to as constant density flows, even compressible fluids can have this flow type approximation under low velocities as shown in the image. Project: Incompressible flow through a venturi injector.[24]
For problems involving significant change in fluid density - the image shows simulation of airflow around an aircraft at low subsonic compressible flow regime. Project: Simulation of airflow around an aircraft.[25]
Multiphase flow Passive scalar transport Fluid-Solid Body Interaction Advanced modeling
To analyse flow of different phases or different material properties - the multiphase simulation of stirring process in a reactor is shown in the image. Analysis done on SimScale. Project: Multiphase simulation of stirring process in a reactor.[26]
A new scalar quantity is introduced into incompressible flow field - smoke propagation/clearance is a typical illustration of this kind of flow. This analysis was performed with the SimScale CFD platform. Project: Scalar transport CFD simulation in a garage.[27]
Involves fluid flows which are dependent on solid body motion - a common example is flow altered by opening and closing of a pressure relief valve. The simulation was done using SimScale. Project: Pressure relief valve analysis.[28]
Some advanced features like flow involving rotating parts and porous media can also be simulated using SimScale - for instance the rotating mesh in a centrifugal pump can be modeled as shown in the image above. Project: Centrifugal Pump with MRF.[29]

Thermal moduleEdit

The Thermal module of SimScale uses OpenFOAM for solid-solid and fluid-solid thermal interaction problems. For thermo-structural analysis, SimScale uses Code_Aster and CalculiX. At present, SimScale allows uncoupled thermo-mechanical simulations,[30] conjugate heat transfer[31] and convective heat transfer analysis. Both steady-state and transient simulations are possible. In addition, fluid simulations also allow usage of Turbulence models. Types of analysis possible using SimScale include:

Thermo-Structural analysis Convection heat transfer Conduction heat transfer Radiation heat transfer
SimScale’s thermal analysis software component enables you to perform thermo-mechanical and heat transfer analyses, as shown in the image above. The analysis was done on SimScale. Project: Thermo-structural analysis of a cracked pipe.[32]
Heat transfer takes place as a result of fluid movement, caused by buoyancy and/or external sources like a fan or heater - in this case the convective flow inside a light bulb is seen due to heated filament. Project: Convective flow inside a light bulb.[33]
This image shows the thermal effect in electronic chips mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB). This transient thermal analysis was performed on the SimScale platform. Project: Transient Thermal Analysis of a PCB.[34]
This image shows the transfer of heat in laser welding process. In product design, radiation usually starts to play a role for high temperatures and thus is also taken into account for this case. The analysis above was performed using SimScale.

Conjugate heat transfer (CHT), simulates the thermal energy transfer between a solid and a fluid, was added most recently to SimScale physics portfolio. It is most commonly used in the design of heat exchangers, heaters, coolers, electronic components and other heat sources.[35]

Conjugate heat transfer
Heat transfer existent between fluid and solid mediums - a typical example would be the heat exchanger where the heat transfer takes place between two fluids separated by a solid region. Project: Heat exchanger - conjugate heat transfer simulation.[36]

Other modulesEdit

The other modules of SimScale include:

Particle analysis
This image shows the mixing and moving of granular particles through a screw conveyor. This particle analysis was performed with the SimScale software. Project: Particle analysis of a screw conveyor.[37]

File formatEdit

SimScale allows import of geometry in STEP, IGES, BREP, Rhinoceros 3D, Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Parasolid, ACIS and STL formats; mesh in OpenFOAM, UNV, EGC, MED, CGNS formats. In addition, the geometry can be directly imported from their partner CAD platform, namely Onshape.

A SimScale add-in for Autodesk Fusion 360 has been released to allow direct import of models from Autodesk Fusion 360 to SimScale.[38]

Industrial applicationsEdit

SimScale's CAE software finds application in a wide range of industries — such as HVAC, wind engineering, automotive, aerospace, electronics, industrial equipment and machinery, heat sinks, consumer products, biomechanics etc.[39] Its use cases are very diverse. Japan-based Tokyowheel — a company that engineers technical carbon fiber racing wheels for competitive cyclists — used SimScale's CFD software component to determine the most aerodynamic wheel profile.[3] QRC Technologies performed thermal simulations on SimScale to test multiple variations of their RF tester.[40] Carlsson Autotechnik optimized the aerodynamics of their vehicle with the help SimScale's CFD module.[41] Malaika, a company specialized in designing and producing car seats, employed SimScale's FEA simulation functionality to design safer car seats for children.[41]

SimScale communityEdit

The SimScale Community Plan was announced on 2 December 2015 based on new investment round led by Union Square Ventures (USV).[42] The Community Plan is free and includes 3000 computation hours and 500 GB of storage per year for any registered user. Simulations/Projects created by a user registered under the "Community plan" are accessible to all other users within the SimScale public project library.[1] The SimScale public projects is a library of existing simulations/projects which any registered user can use as template to modify or copy.[43]

SimScale outreach programEdit

SimScale has also organized several free webinars as a part of its outreach program to make simulation technologies more popular among hobbyists and designers. Webinars organized by SimScale include:

  • CFD Master Class[44]
  • FEA Master Class[45]
  • Thermal Analysis Workshop[46]
  • 3D Printer Workshop[47]
  • F1 Aerodynamics Workshop[48]
  • Simulation in Biomedical Engineering Workshop[49]
  • CFD in Formula Student and Formula SAE Workshop[50]

Additionally, in 2016 SimScale launched its Academic Program[51] to foster relationships with schools, universities and individual researchers. Within the scope of the program SimScale offers students free subscription to the Professional Plan and sponsors student teams participating in competitions such as Formula SAE/Formula Student, SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design etc.[52]


  1. ^ a b Wasserman, Shawn (9 December 2015). "SimScale Brings the Price of Computer-Aided Engineering Down to Zero".
  2. ^ Tara, Roopinder (16 June 2016). "Be Warned: The CAE World Is About to Shift".
  3. ^ a b "Enhancing Cycling Performance via Simulation". April 2016.
  4. ^ "SimScale". CrunchBase.
  5. ^ Schmitz, Barb (26 August 2013). "Cloud-Based Simulation".
  6. ^ "Introducing SimScale Connector App for Onshape". December 2015.
  7. ^ "SimScale announces free access to simulation technology as a part of its new community plan" (Press release). NAFEMS. 2 December 2015.
  8. ^ König, Peter (15 April 2016). "Mit SimScale und Make gratis simulieren lernen wie die Profis" (Press release). MAKE. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017.
  9. ^ "SimScale to bring simulation technology to small and medium businesses". Global Manufacturing. 8 December 2015.
  10. ^ Wasserman, Shawn (30 April 2015). "Is Cloud-Based Simulation Affordable Enough to Dominate the Start-Up Market?".
  11. ^ "SimScale Launches Integration for Autodesk Fusion 360". August 2016.
  12. ^ "Introducing the SimScale Academic Program". December 2016.
  13. ^ "2016: A Year in Review for SimScale". December 2016.
  14. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Static Structural Analysis of a Gripper Arm".
  15. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Contact analysis of a consumer snap-fit mechanism".
  16. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Mobile Phone Drop Test".
  17. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Dynamic nonlinear impact analysis of a skull".
  18. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Linear analysis of a multibody system (toggle-clamp)".
  19. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Harmonic analysis of an impeller".
  20. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Truss bridge eigenfrequency analysis".
  21. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Testing of two different types of cardiovascular stent models".
  22. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Laminar steady state simulation of a cleanroom".
  23. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Turbulent flow through a cyclone separator".
  24. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Flow analysis of a venturi injector".
  25. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Compressible aerodynamics of commercial aircraft".
  26. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Stirred reactor free surface flow".
  27. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Smoke propagation in a parking garage".
  28. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Pressure relief valve analysis with 6-DoF motion".
  29. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Centrifugal pump with MRF".
  30. ^ Wasserman, Shawn (19 January 2015). "Transient Heating and Thermal Shock Analysis for Free".
  31. ^ Wasserman, Shawn (19 May 2016). "Freemium Simulation Software Now Includes Conjugate Heat Transfer".
  32. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Thermo-structural analysis of a cracked pipe".
  33. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Convective flow inside a light bulb".
  34. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Transient thermal analysis of a PCB".
  35. ^ "Freemium Simulation Software Now Includes Conjugate Heat Transfer". May 2016.
  36. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Heat exchanger - CHT simulation".
  37. ^ "SimScale Simulation Project: Screw conveyor - particle analysis".
  38. ^ "SimScale Integrates with Autodesk Fusion 360". Inside HPC. 22 August 2016.
  39. ^ "SimScale — Industries". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  40. ^ "Simulation Experts Save Electronics from Thermal Damage". February 2017.
  41. ^ a b "Using Simulation in Product Design: 3 Success SimStories". March 2016.
  42. ^ "Union Square Ventures invests in Munich-based startup SimScale". 2 December 2015.
  43. ^ "Public Projects". SimScale.
  44. ^ "SimScale CFD Master Class". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  45. ^ "SimScale FEA Master Class". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  46. ^ "SimScale Thermal Analysis Workshop". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  47. ^ "SimScale Offers Three Workshops to Teach 3D Printing". 11 February 2016.
  48. ^ "SimScale Offers Online F1 Aerodynamics Workshop". Inside HPC. 11 March 2016.
  49. ^ "SimScale Offers Training on Using Simulation in Biomedical Engineering". 19 August 2016.
  50. ^ "Application of CFD in Formula Student and Formula SAE". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  51. ^ "Introducing the SimScale Academic Program". SimScale. December 2016.
  52. ^ "SimScale Academic Program - CAE software for Students and Educators". SimScale. Retrieved 3 April 2017.