Open Source Thermal Design Process

Greetings all!

I’m helping the thermal design lead on ARISS AREx (Amateur Radio International Space Station Amateur Radio Exploration project) get started.

This project puts amateur radio on the Lunar Gateway.

The project is open source.

The thermal lead comes from terrestrial thermal design and will need advice, support, and practice.

Hence, this appeal!

I see the thermal design results for UPSat.

What software was used to do thermal design simulations? I see the equipment used to do thermal testing. I see an image that looks like it was exported from a thermal simulation. I don’t see thermal “stuff” in the structural repository. This is not my area, so I could be simply not understanding what I’m looking at.

I found three software packages from NASA that had “thermal” in the description. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

VADER, NASTRAN 93, FilePlottingTools

I’ve never used it so can’t comment on it… but what about Simscale? Supposedly 100% free and open?

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I don’t know what was used on the UPsat mission, but I know that FreeCAD might possibly do some of what you need? Certainly for structural coupled FEA stuff… not sure if it can do thermal analysis on PCB etc.

This reply is a year later, so I’m not sure if it is still useful.

A number of CAD software packages are used for thermal analysis:

  • Thermal Desktop (combined with RADCAD)
  • Thermica

The latter two are primally used in Europe. The maker of ESATAN (ITP) also has a excel based tool available (ThermXL), which is simpler. It does sometimes run inot issues with modern versions of excel.

I am not aware of any oper source thermal calculation tools, it should be possible to write solvers in other computational engines.

You need to define what you will conduct thermal design and analysis.

Generally, in the case for electronic box, the thermal analysis can be analyzed based on the boundary condition provided from system level. In this case, SimScape and other tools can be used for you.
If you want to perform orbit thermal analysis for system level, you need to use NX-IDEAS or SINDA Fluint/ThermalDesktop.