Everything You Need to Know About Optimized Generative Design Fluid Paths

Heath Houghton October 5, 2021 2 min read

Learn all about the new tech preview within Fusion 360 that enables you to create optimized generative design fluid paths. 

Does liquid or gas flow through any of your designs? Does the efficiency of that flow impact product performance?  If the answer to these questions is yes, then the newly introduced Fluid Path study type for generative design could be a game-changer for you.   

Over the years, we have witnessed how much time it takes and how much expertise is required to achieve a decently optimized flow path manually. Countless customers have asked us to automate this process, much like generative design has done for structural components. We have been working behind the scenes for years to make that happen. The day has finally come that we get to show off this young technology within Fusion 360, so we recently introduced a tech preview of the “Fluid Path” study type.   

What is “Fluid Path”?

The goal of the fluid path study type is to create a fluid path volume that results in the lowest pressure drop. This feature is a technical preview that you will see evolve and improve with each Fusion 360 release. Your feedback and input are invaluable in our endeavor to maximize the potential of this study type. If you have a fan directing flow through an assembly, have complex ducting, or design flow control devices, such as valves or manifolds, the Fluid Path study should be something you check out. This article will walk you through how to access the study type, show some examples of what it can create, and walk through where to learn more about this exciting new feature set. 

How to Access Generative Design Fluid Path 

When you choose to create a new Generative Study in Fusion 360, you will now see the option to create your structural components or the new option of creating fluid paths.


This feature is a technical preview, so information about that will show up the first time. Then, you will enter the familiar generative design workspace that we have slightly modified to accommodate this new feature set. 

When is This Feature Appropriate to Use?

Here is a simple example of an automotive intake manifold: In this case, we have one port where the flow comes in from the turbo, and it needs to be efficiently distributed to six ports. As shown, Fluid Path will work from a large block of fluid and reduce the volume down to the most effective flow path to each port. The images show the setup geometry, the initial shape, an intermediate shape, and the final shape with flow lines and pressure plot, respectively. 


The following example is a multiport valve. We supply a simple initial shape and want the software to reduce the fluid volume and give us a minimal pressure drop. Here is the starting shape and final shape.  Note that the red objects are obstacles. 


Learn More About Generative Design Fluid Path

To learn more about creating generative design fluid paths, visit our help topic here. The instructional video shows how to access a dataset and basic information on getting started. For clarity, you can find the aforementioned dataset within Fusion 360 via the data panel: Data Panel > Generative Design Samples > Fluid Path. Or, check out our YouTube video below.

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