The coupling between a temperature and a structural analysis is one of the most common multiphysics simulations. In most cases, the calculation is unilateral, which means the results of the temperature simulation are adopted as boundary conditions in the structural analysis, but the resulting displacements are not returned back to the temperature calculation. This is always acceptable if the thermal boundary conditions do not change or only change very slightly as a result of the deformations.
However, there are cases where this simplified approach is no longer appropriate. If, for example, a contact opens, this results in a significantly greater thermal resistance in this area. The result is a corresponding change in temperature distribution.
Almost without exception, in terms of meshing that meets the requirements of a structural-mechanical simulation is also well suited for thermal analysis. Therefore, the temperature-structure coupling is an option for an integrated multidisciplinary simulation. However, the more common approach is a separate consideration of the problem.
The results, which are transferred from the thermal simulation, are the local component temperatures. If necessary, the structural analysis returns either the deformations of the structure or the change in the contact conditions.