Contact Resistance and Joule Heating

P. Vorauer1
Published in 2023

Simulation of thermal and electrical contact resistance of welding torch nozzles

In modern engineering and scientific research, accurate modeling of contact resistances, both electrical and thermal, plays a crucial role in the design and analysis of technical systems. Our project presents a comparison between the numerical simulation tools, OPENFOAM® and COMSOL®. Simulations of thermal and electrical contact resistances were conducted, evaluating the potential and heat distribution. Additionally, the joule heating, resulting from contact resistances, was analyzed in simulations of welding torch nozzles.

A series of test simulations were performed, encompassing various contact configurations, material properties, and boundary conditions. These simulations investigated simple and complex geometries comprising two to three parts with up to two contact points. The physics interfaces Electric Currents and Heat Transfer in Solids, along with the multiphysics option Electromagnetic Heating (jouleHeating), were utilized.

The main objective of the project was to examine and compare the capabilities and performance of OPENFOAM® and COMSOL® in accurately and efficiently analyzing contact resistances. The simulation tools were compared against each other and theoretical results. The results of the analysis regarding accuracy and computation time provide valuable insights into the strengths of each software. These insights facilitate a well-founded assessment of the performance of OPENFOAM® and COMSOL® in the field of contact resistance analysis.