ANSYS Icepak Features

ANSYS Icepak software provides robust and powerful computational fluid dynamics for electronics thermal management.

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Icepak Objects Icepak Objects

ANSYS Icepak software contains many productivity-enhancement features that enable quick creation and simulation of electronics cooling models of integrated circuit (IC) packages, printed circuit boards and complete electronic systems. 

Models are created by simply dragging and dropping icons of predefined objects — including cabinets, fans, packages, circuit boards, vents and heat sinks — to create models of complete electronic systems. These smart objects capture geometric information, material properties, meshing parameters and boundary conditions — all of which can be parametric for performing sensitivity studies and optimizing designs.

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ANSYS Icepak objects enable rapid model creation of electronics cooling models.

ECAD/MCAD Interfaces ECAD/MCAD Interfaces

To accelerate model development, ANSYS Icepak imports both electronic CAD (ECAD) and mechanical CAD (MCAD) data from a variety of sources. ANSYS Icepak software directly supports IDF, MCM, BRD and TCB files that were created using EDA software such as Cadence® Allegro® or Cadence Allegro Package Designer. Additional products — AnsoftLinks and ANSYS Icegrb — enable ANSYS Icepak to import ECAD data from a number EDA packages from Cadence, Zuken®, Sigrity®, Synopsys® and Mentor Graphics®.

ANSYS Icepak directly supports the import of mechanical CAD data from neutral file formats including STEP and IGES files. ANSYS DesignModeler software allows ANSYS Icepak to import geometry from all major mechanical CAD packages through the ANSYS Workbench geometry interfaces. Geometry imported from ECAD and MCAD can be combined into smart objects to efficiently create models of electronic assemblies.

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Electric potential contours on PCB trace imported from ECAD data

Flexible, Automatic Meshing Flexible, Automatic Meshing

ANSYS Icepak software contains advanced meshing algorithms to automatically generate high-quality meshes that represent the true shape of electronic components. Options include hex-dominant, unstructured hexahedral and Cartesian meshing, which enable automatic generation of body-fitted meshes with minimal user intervention. The mesh density can  be localized through nonconformal interfaces, which allows inclusion of a variety of component scales within the same electronics cooling model. 

While fully automated, ANSYS Icepak contains many mesh controls that allow customization of the meshing parameters to refine the mesh and optimize the trade-off between computational cost and solution accuracy. This meshing flexibility results in the fastest solution times possible without compromising accuracy.

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Multi-level hex-dominant mesh (hanging-node) on sheet metal heat sink represented directly as mechanical CAD geometry

Robust Numerical Solutions Robust Numerical Solutions

ANSYS Icepak software uses state-of-the-art technology available in the ANSYS FLUENT CFD solver for thermal and fluid flow calculations. The ANSYS Icepak solver solves for fluid flow and includes all modes of heat transfer — conduction, convection and radiation — for both steady-state and transient thermal flow simulations. The solver uses a multigrid scheme to accelerate solution convergence for conjugate heat transfer problems. It provides complete mesh flexibility and allows solution of even the most complex electronic assemblies using unstructured meshes — providing robust and extremely fast solution times.

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Thermal management simulation of fan-cooled rack-mounted computer

Results Visualization Results Visualization

ANSYS Icepak software contains a full suite of qualitative and quantitative post-processing tools to generate meaningful graphics, animations and reports that can readily convey simulation results to colleagues and customers. Visualization of velocity vectors, temperature contours, fluid particle traces, isosurface displays, cut planes and x–y plots of results data are all available for interpreting the results of an electronics cooling simulation. Customized reports, including images, can be automatically created for distributing results data, identifying trends in the simulation, and reporting fan and blower operating points. ANSYS Icepak includes ANSYS CFD-Post for further post-processing of CFD results with advanced post-processing and animation tools.

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Temperature profiles and flow streamlines from three axial fans cooling card array in VME format box

Automated DELPHI Package Characterization Automated DELPHI Package Characterization

ANSYS Icepak contains an automated procedure for DELPHI package characterization from a detailed package model. The software runs different boundary condition scenarios to obtain temperature and heat flux values, which are used to create an optimized thermal network model. The optimized DELPHI network model can easily be included in a system-level simulation, which allows accurate prediction of junction temperatures of IC components in a system-level thermal simulation.

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DELPHI package characterization of BGA package: detailed model (left), DELPHI network model (right)

Automated Computation of Thermal Conductivity Automated Computation of Thermal Conductivity

Based on imported ECAD data, ANSYS Icepak software can extract detailed thermal conductivity maps for printed circuit boards and packages. For printed circuit boards, localized orthotropic thermal conductivity can be determined from the electronic trace and via information for the printed circuit board layers. This enables accurate representation of thermal conduction in the board, which provides increased fidelity in predicting internal temperatures and component junction temperatures.

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Orthotropic thermal conductivity determined from trace and via information for bottom layer of BGA package substrate

SIwave Interface SIwave Interface

ANSYS Icepak provides a link with SIwave software to account for heating due to copper resistive losses in printed circuit boards and packages. SIwave allows performance of complete signal- and power-integrity analyses from DC to beyond 10 Gb/s. The connection permits importing the DC power distribution profile from SIwave into ANSYS Icepak for thermal analysis. The coupling also enables prediction of both internal temperatures and accurate component junction temperatures.

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DC voltage drop simulation with SIwave (left), exported power map (center) and resultant temperatures in PCB (right) including copper resistive losses

Structural Simulation Interface Structural Simulation Interface

Following an ANSYS Icepak simulation, temperature data from a thermal-flow analysis can be imported into an ANSYS structural mechanics product using the ANSYS Workbench platform. ANSYS structural mechanics software provides a comprehensive set of capabilities for modeling both linear and nonlinear structural mechanics for both static and dynamic systems. The coupling between ANSYS Icepak and structural mechanics allows users to evaluate the temperatures and resulting thermal stresses of electronic components.

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Temperature profile in computer graphics card; ANSYS Icepak results mapped onto thermalstress model using ANSYS Workbench

Macros Macros

ANSYS Icepak includes many macros designed to automate common model-building tasks. Macros are available to assist with creating different types of packages, PCBs, heat sinks, heat pipes, thermoelectric coolers, JEDEC test configurations and DELPHI package characterization.

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ANSYS Icepak macro for creating cavity-down BGA package

Libraries Libraries

Vast libraries of standard electronic components are included with ANSYS Icepak software. These libraries allow rapid creation of electronics cooling models. Libraries include data for:

  • Materials – material properties for fluids, solids and surfaces
  • Fans – geometry and operating curves
  • Heatsinks – Aavid heatsinks by part number
  • Thermoelectric coolers – Melcor® and Marlow® TECs by part number
  • Thermal interface materials – thermal pads and gaskets by vendor part number
  • Filters – fan air filter by vendor part number
  • Packages – BGA, FPBGA and TBGA packages

Add-On Modules Add-On Modules


ANSYS HPC provides powerful parallel performance computing options to solve large-scale electronics cooling models. Calculation speed can be drastically increased by performing simulations in parallel, either on a multicore machine or distributed over a large computing cluster.

ANSYS DesignModeler

The ANSYS DesignModeler tool enables the import, simplification and conversion of mechanical CAD into native ANSYS Icepak objects. Within the ANSYS Workbench platform, ANSYS DesignModeler allows import of geometry from all major mechanical CAD vendors through the ANSYS Workbench geometry interfaces. Imported geometry can easily be simplified for thermal analysis using both the automatic and manual geometry editing and simplification tools available in ANSYS DesignModeler.


AnsoftLinks software allows the import of electronic CAD data from EDA layout tools into ANSYS Icepak for thermal analysis. With AnsoftLinks, selected components from electronic packages or printed circuit boards can be converted into an Ansoft neutral file, which can then be imported into ANSYS Icepak. AnsoftLinks supports the conversion of EDA data from a number of tools offered by Cadence, Zuken, Sigrity and Mentor Graphics.

ANSYS Iceopt

ANSYS Iceopt software provides robust design optimization capabilities for ANSYS Icepak, extending parametric capabilities to allow for performance of in-depth design analysis and optimization of electronic components.

ANSYS Icegrb

ANSYS Icegrb software enables the import of Gerber files from EDA tools such as Cadence®, Zuken, Sigrity® and Mentor Graphics® into ANSYS Icepak for the thermal analysis of printed circuit boards and packages.

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Ask the Expert - Complex Shapes and CAD Geometry Modeling in ANSYS Icepak

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