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In Thermal simulation, is an empty volume treated as air, vacuum, or something else?

Question asked by Eric Fleischer on Jun 20, 2018

For instance, if I am simulating heat loss of a liquid in a closed container, do I need to create a "solid" volume to fill the space between the liquid surface and the underside of the lid, or do I just leave it as a void?  Should I also model a volume of air outside the container, or just apply free convection to the external surfaces?


Related: if I want to define a volume as vacuum, do I leave it as a void, or fill the volume with a "solid" with 1e-15 (seems to be the lowest accepted value) for density and conductivity?