Thermally Driven Structural Deformations

Engineers who work with AltaSim Technologies develop solutions more rapidly, at a lower cost, and with greater understanding by leveraging our guidance for implementing Multiphysics simulations. To help see the impact we have on our clients, we have put together a brief case study of a unique solution our simulation experts produced on a recent project.


A client of AltaSim’s experienced unplanned plant downtime due to excessive deformation of a mission-critical structure in their chemical processing facility. The downtime lasted 10 days and the lost production cost our client $1.25 million/day. Our client’s engineers were able to restart production and collect data showing an atypical temperature-time history several locations away from the deformation. Analysis of this data provided several possible scenarios that could have produced the downtime. However, our client’s engineers were unable to develop a clear remediation plan for the next scheduled downtime.


AltaSim developed Multiphysics simulations of the region near the deformed structure using fluid flow, chemical reactions, heat transfer, and structural analysis of the mechanical and thermal loads. The simulations included operating data for temperature and pressure measured away from the failure location. AltaSim worked with our client’s engineering staff to assess each failure scenario using forensic finite element analysis, allowing our team to modify the proposed scenarios and develop the most likely cause of excessive deformation.


The simulations enabled our client’s engineers to develop plant remediations to reduce the likelihood of reproducing this unplanned downtime. Our client implemented this plan at the next planned shutdown, and the plant has operated through multiple shutdown cycles without reproducing the failure.

AltaSim partners with companies to provide simulations that increase the knowledge and understanding of our clients’ engineering staff. Through these simulations, we work with our clients to develop actionable plans to solve their engineering challenges. To better understand our simulation services, visit our website for an overview. To contact us directly, please visit our Contact Us page.

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January 2024 Case Study