Thermal FE

Integrating Finite Element Analysis into the Spacecraft Thermal Analysis Process

Young Graduate Trainee (YGT) Project: May 2004 – April 2005

Contacts

James Etchells
ESTEC/ESA
James dot Etchells at esa dot int

Harrie Rooijackers
ATG Europe
Harrie dot Rooijackers at atg-europe dot com
harrie at thermal dot esa dot int

Thermal Analysis
ESTEC/ESA
thermal dot analysis at thermal dot esa dot int

Scope

There are many steps in the spacecraft thermal analysis process such as conductor generation, pre/post-processing and mapping of temperatures to a structural model. This report seeks to identify some of the key steps in this process and to assess where the use of FEA may be beneficial. Furthermore, in order to aid the integration of FEA into the thermal analysis process, several tools have been developed and these will be presented within the report. The key objectives of the investigation are:

Research Objectives

  • To consider the different steps and processes involved in spacecraft thermal analysis
  • To asses which steps in the process could benefit from the use of FEA
  • To investigate where it is possible to use TLP and FEA methods together and how it is possible to map between the methods
  • To elucidate these issues and provide quantitative data by running some test cases
Objectives for the Development of Tools
  • Focus on development of general methodologies rather than creating a single specific tool
  • Development should be as tool independent as possible and use neutral formats if feasible
  • Where possible, existing, trusted, software tools should be used
  • Development should act as a first step towards integrating FEA, allowing users to experiment with minimum financial investment or time commitment

Material available for download

The following material is available for download on this website:

  • YGT Final Report: “Integrating Finite Element Analysis into the Spacecraft Thermal Analysis Process” (PDF)
  • YGT Final Presentation (PDF)
  • NASTRAN BDF to STEP-TAS conversion tool (PC Windows)
  • NASTRAN RADMTX writer tool (PC Windows)
  • FE2TAN tool (PC Windows)

It is also hoped that some tutorial examples demonstrating the use of these tools will be made available. There is, however, no guarantee that these will be made available and no specific time frame. Readers are advised to check this page periodically in order to check for updates.

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Feedback and Comments

Any feedback, comments or suggestions for future work relating to this project are much appreciated. Correspondence can be sent to the contact addresses at the top of this page and we will try to reply to you swiftly.

Terms and Conditions

The subject material was produced under an internal project of the European Space Agency. Therefore it is freely available to organisations and individuals located in one of the Agency's member or cooperating states according to the criteria set out in Article II (3) of Annex V of the European Space Agency Convention [*].

The subject material shall not be redistributed or published in any form outside the recipient's organisation. By downloading the material from this website you consent to these Terms and Conditions.

[*] Available from http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Law_at_ESA/ESA_Convention

Disclaimer

Warranty and Disclaimer of Warranty. Although every attempt has been made to ensure the correctness of these tools, they are provided "AS IS" and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY OF THIS SOFTWARE IS WITH THE USER.  

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