Skip to main content

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been developing a framework of additional analysis capabilities to aid in the verification, development, and execution of thermal models using the OpenTD Application Programming Interface (API). This paper provides a brief overview of the data structures, properties, methods, and relationships between the objects accessible through the current API and describes some of the algorithms necessary to implement the desired functions at GSFC. Some example code snippets are also provided to aid potential users in the development of their own utilities.

Thermal Desktop has the capability of modeling free molecular heat transfer (FMHT), but limitations are observed when working with large models during transient operation. To overcome this limitation, a MatLab program was developed that processes the Thermal Desktop free molecular conductors. It sets up the logic and arrays for the Thermal Desktop GUI used by SINDA/FLUINT. The theory of free molecular heating is presented along with the process required to setup the conductors, arrays, logic and Fortran subroutines for FMHT modeling in Thermal Desktop.

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.

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.