Thermal Management

Protecting electrical systems from temperature extremes is imperative to maintaining aircraft functionality. Thermal analysis is important to the design of heat shields, anti-icing systems, propulsion system integration, and maintenance of controlled environments in cabins. Ensuring that electrical equipment maintains critical temperatures improves strength and component life.

Heat shields on rockets ensure that the cabin doesn’t overheat or ice up. Internal and external aircraft components need to be protected during solar loading and other similar conditions. Two components interacting with one another can cause changes in temperature. In all of these cases, ANSYS software can simulate how heat moves from one place to another, such as from a hot tarmac on a 100-plus degree F day to the engine compartment of a plane.

To keep temperature from affect a component’s life, ANSYS software can predict temperature ranges in which a component will work and when it will break down, as well as how hot or cold components will get in various altitudes, climates and weather conditions.

Thermal engineers use ANSYS software for myriad tests on a variety of craft. For instance, ANSYS Mechanical software can be used to predict life expectancy of gear boxes in helicopters, based on thermal cycles. ANSYS CFD software can integrate the effects from an object traveling at hypersonic speeds — such as capsule re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere — and at the same time analyze ionization and dissociation reactions that occur. In addition, the thermal loads from the CFD simulation can be seamlessly transferred to the ANSYS Mechanical software to analyze thermal stresses.

CFD simulation can compute heat transfer between a turbine blade, cooling passages and the surrounding area. Thermal and pressure loads are easily mapped to the ANSYS Mechanical for a thermal– static structural analysis. The same simulation software can predict thermal management solutions based on convection and conduction. ANSYS Icepack offers electronics cooling capabilities across all scales, from chip level to board assembly to system level.

ANSYS software enables engineers to accurately predict all these physical phenomena individually as well as in a coupled manner, allowing seamless exchange of information between various analyses. This is particularly important in aerospace design, which requires that thermal, aerodynamic, structural and electronics engineers to collaborate and share results of their analyses.

Thermal analysis is by nature multidisciplinary. Thermal analysis engineers must compute flow and heat transfer accurately. ANSYS software enables designers to predict the strength of the heat sources, how the energy is transported through fluids and solids, and how it will affect the structural performance of critical components in the system.