I'm attempting to quantify the expected distortion / deformation of a part as it undergoes a thermal transition. Assuming the part is fabricated at room temperature and is cooled to extreme temperatures, how much do the features deform?
The Thermal side of Mechanica does not have any analyses that will display deformation, only Flux and Temperature -- the structural side has a Global Temperature tool, but the deformation seems arbitrarily constrained around one corner of the part, instead of axi-symmetric as I might have predicted.
Is this a problem Mechanica can help solve? Can I get some pointers to get moving in the right direction?
It depends on exactly what kind of information you're looking for, but generally speaking Mechanica will be able to solve this.
Are you interested in the deformation at the final temperature, or do you want to know the deformations as the part goes through the cool down process? If you're interested in just the former, then you can do that entirely in the structural package of the software. If you're interested in the latter, then you need to do a transient thermal analysis (in the thermal package) and then important the thermal load history into the structural package and do a transient structural analysis.
Now, it sounds like you did an analysis in the structural package and applied a global temperature change, but the results you got did not make sense. It sounds like you have an issue with your constraints, which I can't help with unless you provide enough information about the geometry of the part and how it is constrained in the real world.