SINDA/FLUINT (Ref 1-7) is the NASA-standard heat transfer and fluid flow analyzer for thermal control systems. Because of its general formulation, it is also used in other aerospace specialties such as environmental control (ECLSS) and liquid propulsion, and in terrestrial industries such as electronics packaging, refrigeration, power generation, and transportation industries.
This paper describes revolutionary advances in SINDA/FLUINT, the NASA-standard heat transfer and fluid flow analyzer, changing it from a traditional point-design simulator into a tool that can help shape preliminary designs, rapidly perform parametrics and sensitivity studies, and even correlate modeling uncertainties using available test data.
Recent years have witnessed more improvement to the SINDA/FLUINT thermohydraulic analyzer than at any other time in its long history. These improvements have included not only expansions in analytic power, but also the additions of high-level modules that offer revolutions in thermal/ fluid engineering itself.
Over the past 15 years, the industry standard tool for thermal analysis, SINDA, has been expanded to include advanced thermodynamic and hydrodynamic solutions (“FLUINT”). With the recent culmination of the unique modeling tools, SINDA/ FLUINT has arguably become the most complete general-purpose thermohydraulic network analyzer that is available.
The NASA standard tool for thermohydraulic analysis, SINDA/FLUINT, includes thermodynamic and hydrodynamic solutions specifically targeted at the growing demand for design and analysis of liquid propulsion systems. Applications in this field have included:
This paper describes the application of the general purpose SINDA/FLUINT thermohydraulic analyzer to the modeling of vapor compression (VC) cycles such as those commonly used in automotive climate control and building HVAC systems. The software is able to simulate transient operation of vapor compression cycles, predicting pressures, coefficients of performance, and condenser/evaporator liquid positions in a closed two-phase system with a fixed fluid charge.
Structural and thermal engineers currently work independently of each other using unrelated tools, models, and methods. Without the ability to rapidly exchange design data and predicted performance, the achievement of the ideals of concurrent engineering is not possible.
Thermal analysis is typically performed using a point design approach, where a single model is analyzed one analysis case at a time. Changes to the system design are analyzed by updating the thermal radiation and conduction models by hand, which can become a bottleneck when attempting to adopt a concurrent engineering approach. This paper presents the parametric modeling features that have been added to Thermal DesktopTM to support concurrent engineering. The thermal model may now be characterized by a set of design variables that are easily modified to reflect system level design changes.
Thermal engineering has long been left out of the concurrent engineering environment dominated by CAD (computer aided design) and FEM (finite element method) software. Current tools attempt to force the thermal design process into an environment primarily created to support structural analysis, which results in inappropriate thermal models. As a result, many thermal engineers either build models “by hand” or use geometric user interfaces that are separate from and have little useful connection, if any, to CAD and FEM systems.