When a system becomes too hot or cold or is continuously cycled through a large temperature range during its lifetime, mechanical problems such as structural distortion, structural failure, and equipment failure often will occur. Because of ATA’s technical heritage in structural engineering, we also have extensive experience in thermal analysis of aerospace and electronic systems and applying the resulting thermal loads to our structural analysis models. In addition, ATA can perform multidisciplinary thermal/structural calculations.
Thermal Analysis Experience
ATA has extensive experience in aerospace systems including defining the solar radiation environment and orbital mechanics for satellites and other orbiting systems and specialty aerospace materials including ablatives. For ground-based systems, we typically analyze electronic systems with forced or natural convection cooling. ATA has performed thermal analysis at the system level, board level, and chip level. We use our analysis tools to drive the design of thermal managements systems for products ranging from high-powered lasers to compact battery packs.
Computational Thermal Analysis Process
If a thermal analysis problem is relatively simple, a one-dimensional calculation may be sufficient. More complicated examples require computational thermal analysis methods which generally follow a common process, as outlined below:
- Problem definition
- Hand calculations
- Geometry cleanup, simplification
- Creation of thermal computational network
- Thermal simulation
- Post-processing of simulation results
- Visualization of temperature or other results
- Reporting and assessment of key metrics
- Recommendation and implementation of design changes
- Interfacing or mapping temperature results to other analysis tools
- Test planning and support
- Data processing, posttest analysis, and model correlation
Depending on your needs, ATA’s experienced thermal analysts can perform the entire computational thermal analysis process or focus on specific steps. ATA also can provide independent thermal model review services.