NASA Spinoff

Modeling Languages Refine Vehicle Design

TechnoSoft was ahead of schedule on the software’s development, and by the time they were in an SBIR Phase II contract, the product was already being used in design processes. The success of CoHAVE led to a Phase III contract from Langley. “NASA’s investing in TechnoSoft has helped prove that this technology is valid and that it reduces risk,” Chemaly says. “Once we proved it within certain programs in NASA, we were able to leverage these successes with the Air Force and commercial sectors.”

NASA found that CoHAVE is applicable to the Reusable Space Transportation System’s product area for evaluating the architectures of the Space Transportation Architecture Study and second-generation reusable launch vehicle studies. Recently, CoHAVE has been extended to incorporate models for other applications such as reentry vehicles. Since the environment now includes vehicles other than traditional hypersonic air-breathing vehicles, the name has morphed into the Integrated Design and Engineering Analysis Environment, or IDEA.

Product Outcome

altEngineers can use IDEA and the enhanced AML platform early in the design process to analyze a variety of customized models for different designs including fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, structural design, and plenary models. AML offers an advanced modeling paradigm with an open architecture, enabling the automation of an entire product development cycle, integrating product configuration, design, analysis, visualization, production planning, inspection, and cost estimation.

AML enables generative modeling, which leaps beyond present approaches to integrated design and analysis processes. In a generative modeling environment, knowledge of the engineer’s tools and the intricacies associated with executing them is captured within a modeling language. This empowers the engineer to search a broader set of product design configurations, rather than being limited to simple parameter changes. “These can be built to switch back and forth and allow a lot of iterations early on, making the process affordable and fast,” Chemaly explains.

The software also greatly improves efficiency, says Chemaly. “We have reduced the design time by at least 50 percent, and some of our customers are quoting 90 percent improvement or better.” Since “physics is physics,” he says, the TechnoSoft AML can easily be adapted to different vehicle designs, whether the vehicles are traveling in space, the sea, or on Earth.

Current advancements in AML also allow engineers to incorporate changes in cost in a product’s life cycle. This could once again benefit NASA engineers and commercial designers, enabling ongoing cost analysis for everything from surface ships and automobiles to the space shuttles. With AML, Chemaly says, “We can look at the cost of sustaining the design in the long-run,” taking into account such factors as ongoing maintenance and repair costs. “If the technology evolves or if costs change, we need to be able to insert that into a design,” he says.

altThe program encourages integration with third-party applications through a number of standard methodologies, including shared memory, pipes, TCP/IP sockets, file transfer, and foreign functions. Built-in XML export capability enables a state model of the AML object hierarchy and geometry to be exported automatically to an XML file, which is viewable using TechnoSoft’s AML Viewer. The available “Net Conference” mode enables real-time collaboration among team members across local and global computer networks. A suite of graphical user interface (GUI) classes is provided to allow developers to create customized front-ends to their AML applications. In addition, a visual GUI-builder can be used, making it easier to layout forms and controls, and to assign their associated methods and properties.

TechnoSoft is now customizing AML for clients in green industries, which includes designers for power plant exhaust filtration systems and for wind turbines. TechnoSoft’s focus on making the technology more affordable and deployable by the end of 2009, says Chemaly, has opened the doors to smaller commercial customers. With a platform that can reduce 10,000 work hours to 1,000, it is clear there will be ongoing demand for TechnoSoft’s Adaptive Modeling Language.

Adaptive Modeling Language™ is a trademark of TechnoSoft Inc.