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Learn how ATA’s team leveraged STAR-CCM+ coupled with design and thermal analysis tools to optimize the thermal control system of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) is responsible for the development of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will operate over the wavelength range 320 nm to 25 μm. It will be installed at the Las Campanas Observatory, located north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, and is constructed with seven 8.4 m diameter mirror segments. For the telescope to operate correctly and efficiently, it is imperative that the mirrors be at a constant and uniform temperature matching ambient conditions, as any deformations or local convective cells from the top surface of the mirror can skew the optics.

This webinar, originally delivered by Damien Vanderpool on October 30, 2018, presents ATA Engineering’s computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and thermal analyses of the GMT’s off-axis mirror cells, which were motivated by the need for an analytical model to verify thermal requirements and analyze the mirror cells’ forced cooling system. The analysis was completed in a multistep process that included CFD simulations with STAR-CCM+ to understand heat transfer properties coupled to design and thermal analysis tools to establish the mirrors’ thermal time constants. This process enabled ATA to compare a baseline design to an optimized configuration that reduces the thermal time constants’ nonuniformity.


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