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This paper deals with the formulations used to predict convection cooling and flow in electric machines. Empirical dimensionless analysis formulations are used to calculate convection heat transfer. The particular formulation used is selected to match the geometry of the surface under consideration and the cooling type used. Flow network analysis, which is used to study the ventilation inside the machine, is also presented. In order to focus the discussion using examples, a commercial software package dedicated to motor cooling optimization (Motor-CAD) is considered. This paper provides guidelines for choosing suitable thermal and flow network formulations and setting any calibration parameters used. It may also be considered a reference paper that brings together useful heat transfer and flow formulations that can be successfully applied to thermal analysis of electrical machines.