Success Stories

The CRTech team enjoys hearing from our customers on how they have found value in our software products  and how they have used our products for their application. We welcome customers to share their success stories or publications with us and with our user community. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact us.

Wisconsin Racing Formula SAE  Wisconsin Racing: Energy storage acculators for electric vehicle

Wisconsin Racing is an organization of students from the University of Wisconsin which compete in the design, fabrication, and racing of two Formula 1 style race cars in the SAE Collegiate Design Competitions. The organization allows students to gain experience and take part in all skills necessary for survival in corporate America

The team consists of 5 groups: Chassis, Powertrain, Composites, Electrical, and Business. The Chassis group focuses on frame design and suspension, while powertrain focuses on the powerplant and supporting systems. The composites group is concerned with car aerodynamics and structural/non-structural design using carbon fiber. The Electrical group is responsible for design and wire of an extremely complex turbocharged fuel injection and data acquisition system. They are also responsible for writing engine control strategy and designing a F1 style steering wheel, fully equipped with paddle shifting and electronic brake bias adjustment.

Using software provided through CRTech's University Investment Program, the Electrical group is using Thermal Desktop, RadCAD, and SINDA/FLUINT to analyze the power storage system for their vehicle. Future plans include modeling of the braking system and electric motors.

CRTech is proud to be sponsoring these students and we hope they do well in the 2017 Formula SAE® competition.

Thermal Modeling of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS)

Daniel Alfred, University of Arizona

OSIRIS-REx Camera SuiteOSIRIS-Rex is an asteroid sample return mission, led by scientists at the University of Arizona, that will send a spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid for the purpose of collecting a sample and returning it to Earth for testing and analysis. The purpose of the mission is to collect a sample from a carbonaceous asteroid, named Bennu, that contains organic matter representative of what was present during the formation of the solar system. We also hope to better understand the origin of objects like Bennu. There are several scientific instruments placed on the spacecraft to help accomplish this mission, including the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS), developed by engineers and scientists at the University of Arizona. OCAMS is comprised of three different visible light cameras (MapCam, SamCam, and PolyCam) which will acquire images of Bennu at ranges from 2 million km to a few meters from the surface. OCAMS will characterize the surface and shape of the asteroid and help locate and take images of the sample site and sample acquisition.

Thermal models of each of the three OCAMS cameras for the OSIRIS-REx mission were developed in Thermal Desktop and solved with SINDA/FLUINT. Since these models needed to be incorporated into a system-level spacecraft thermal model along with all of the other OSIRIS-REx instrument thermal models, each model had a node count limit of roughly 100 nodes. They were developed largely from the ground up, using mostly Thermal Desktop primitives and user-defined nodes. They were initially compared with detailed and independently-developed finite element models of the OCAMS cameras, and then correlated to thermal test data attained from Thermal Balance tests performed with OCAMS flight-like hardware.

Click here to learn more about the OCAMS thermal modeling


by James Mason, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)

Thermal analysis of Miniature X-ray Solar SpectrometerThe Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) 3U CubeSat is a loaf-of-bread sized spacecraft currently in low Earth orbit. Its science objective is to measure the energy distribution of soft x-ray sunlight. This part of the spectrum is precisely where the greatest enhancement from solar flares -- explosions that amount to more than 1000x the total world energy consumption over the last 42 years  -- is expected. MinXSS measurements will aid in our scientific understanding of flares and their influence on the Earth's upper atmosphere. MinXSS was designed, built, and is operated at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). 

The MinXSS science measurements depend on the success of the spacecraft as a whole. Temperature is a critical component to that success. At LASP, we used Thermal Desktop to predict the orbital temperature range for each component of the spacecraft and provide confidence that those components would stay within their operational limits. Furthermore, the science instrument needs to be kept quite cold (-50 ºC), so Thermal Desktop was used to test thermal designs that could achieve this important thermal requirement. We also created a model of our thermal vacuum chamber and ran simulations to compare to our thermal balance testing, which provided us with confidence in the model orbit predictions. Overall, Thermal Desktop enables a level of precision prediction that would be prohibitively labor intensive otherwise. The GUI makes visualization of the model intuitive and the depth built into the straight-forward menus provide a level of control and fine-tuning that match our needs for satellite design. 

Click here to learn more about MinXSS

Dream Chaser

by Stephen Miller, Sierra Nevada Corporation

Thermal analysis of Dream ChaserThe Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, lifting-body vehicle capable of traveling to low Earth orbit and landing on a runway, currently in development by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems of Colorado. The engineers at SNC use Thermal Desktop to perform system-level and detailed thermal analysis of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, making use of the following advanced features:

  • The Boundary Condition Mapper is used to map transient reentry heat loads and pressures generated using external computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to the vehicle model.
  •  User-controllable logic (controlled by the Case Set Manager) is used to model non-linear events such as switching on/off avionics boxes and to simplify changing between hot and cold environments.
  • Liquid and gaseous flow loops are simulated using simple one-way thermal networks and FloCAD.
  • Tag Sets are used to simplify connecting assembly-level meshes in the system-level model.
  • The model uses a wide range of thermophysical (anisotropic, temperature- and pressure-dependent) and optical properties.
  • The vehicle’s solar arrays track the sun using Articulators
  • The Stack Manger is used to easily generate aggregate properties for thermal protection system (TPS) multi-material insulation.

Click here to learn more about the Dream Chaser spacecraft

Insight HP3

by Asli Gencosmanoglu, Active Space Technologies GmbH

Thermal analysis of Insite HP3The thermal analysis and design of the Heat-Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3) Instrument for the landed phase of the mission have been performed by Active Space Technologies GmbH using Thermal Desktop and SINDA/FLUINT. In the scope of the thermal analysis and design activities, the detailed thermal and geometrical models of each subsystem as well as the integrated models are created. Being composed of subsystems which are permanently mounted on the lander, deployed on the Mars surface after landing and deployed into the Martian soil, different external thermal environments are defined for each subsystem for the different phases of the mission, including the mars heating environment modelling. The detailed models are integrated on the simplified lander model and the reduced models of the subsystems are also created to be integrated into the detailed lander model.

Below is a highlight of key Thermal Desktop features used:

  • Temperature dependent properties
  • Anisotropic material properties
  • Wavelength, temperature, and angle dependent properties
  • CO2 gas conduction
  • Modeling of convective and conductive heat transfer to the atmosphere
  • Integration and merging of models
  • Radiation analysis groups
  • Orbital heating
  • Mars based planetary heating, vehical position as a function of time, latitude, longitude, and altitude
  • Mars based environmental heating, direct and diffuse solar, albedo, diffuse sky IR, and IR planet shine

Download a presentation of the HP3 Thermal Model

Geostationary Lightning Mapper

Thermal and fluid flow analysis for GLMThe Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) for the GOES-R spacecraft will provide continuous measurement of lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground) in the Western hemisphere from a geostationary orbit. The system will collect lightning location and frequency data to aid the forecasting of storm intensity.

The driving thermal requirement for the GLM thermal design was to keep the flocal plane array (FPA) at 25oC ±2oC for any operating radiator temperature between -10oC and +12oC. To achieve this goal, the system uses parallel, temperature-controlled, loop heat pipes (LHPs) located between the FPA interface and a remote radiator. Thermal Desktop and FloCAD were used to simulate transient circulation of the two-phase working fluid within the two LHPs and predict the temperature distribution across the condenser plate. It was also used to validate the method of temperature control for the LHP. Thermal Desktop and FloCAD were selected for the following reasons:

  • Simultaneously solve the flow momentum, energy, and mass conservation equations for the two-phase and single-phase fluid flow for each fluid lump and path separately as well as for the two fluid submodels.
  • Model heat transfer between the fluid and the structure (fluid convection).
  • Model system heat transfer: conductive (conduction in the condenser plate), and radiative (radiation between the environment to the LHP components).
  • Model the phase change heat transfer (evaporation and condensation).
  • FloCAD provides unique and proven tools for modeling LHPs.
  • The ability to model LHP startup transients.
  • The ability to assess load sharing between parallel LHPs.
  • The ability to easily correlate a model to test results.

Download the publication for more information on this system