Integration and Application Programming Interfaces

Integrated Analysis Environments for Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow
 

"As technology matures, it disappears."
                                            - M. Weiser, Xerox PARC (paraphrased)

One of our key jobs at CRTech is to make our thermal/fluid solution technologies disappear ... to become components of a custom multidisciplinary design environment.

CRTech provides best-of-class user-extensible heat transfer and fluid flow design and analysis capabilities accessible through both geometric and nongeometric user interfaces. But we realize that some customers’ needs are best served with their own custom environment or interface. We are also strong proponents of system-level trade studies and other high-level design tasks that require the feedback of many specialized analyses and considerations: structural, electrical, CFD, aerothermal, optical, reliability, life cycle cost (LCC) or net present value (NPV), etc.

Therefore, not only are our tools highly extensible and customizable, and not only are they fully parametric and able to respond dynamically to model changes, but we also provide APIs (advanced programmer interfaces) and other tools for integrating SINDA/FLUINT and Thermal Desktop®, RadCAD®, FloCAD® solution technologies into a higher-level design evaluation system. Such capabilities are available for codes such as Microsoft Excel®, Aras Comet SDPM, and Noesis' Optimus®, and we welcome the opportunity to create additional connections.

Thermal Desktop features a powerful API: OpenTD. OpenTD allows you to automate many of the tasks currently performed interactively using Thermal Desktop's Graphical User Interface (GUI). OpenTD gives you the tools to programmatically create, query, edit, delete, and run models. You can use any .NET language to interact with OpenTD (C#, VB.NET, F#, etc.) or any system that can load .NET assemblies such as Matlab or Python.

Download API Brochure

MATLAB® as an Example

Example of NREL Advisor IntegrationTo illustrate the possibilities, the interchange with Mathworks' MATLAB® and Simulink® is briefly described. SINDA/FLUINT can be started as a subprocess of MATLAB on a PC. “Registers” and other data values can be passed back and forth between SINDA/FLUINT and MATLAB, as commanded from either code. SINDA/FLUINT’s execution can be suspended and restarted from MATLAB, which can send signals back to SINDA/FLUINT to perform operations such as redo a steady-state analysis, advance a transient time step, perform an optimization, or everything else that is accessible from within SINDA/FLUINT’s user logic blocks (which is almost everything).

Thermal Desktop’s Dynamic Mode can be used to further expand this system, by calling for new Thermal Desktop or RadCAD geometric (radiative, thermal contact, FEM, FDM, etc.) solutions from within SINDA/FLUINT, perhaps as directed from MATLAB or another program.

Although most such integrations are proprietary, an example of one that is documented publicly is NREL’s ADVISOR used for integrated automobile design.

Relevant Links: MDO and MDA

Additional Resources

Contact CRTech for MATLAB interface examples or see the example on our User Forum.

Publication

Customizable Multidiscipline Environments for Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow Modeling, ICES 2004