Tech Briefs

Symbolic Constraint Maintenance Grid

Version 3.1 of Symbolic Constraint Maintenance Grid (SCMG) is a software system that provides a general conceptual framework for utilizing pre-existing programming techniques to perform symbolic transformations of data.  SCMG also provides a language (and an associated communication method and protocol) for representing constraints on the original nonsymbolic data. SCMG provides a facility for exchanging information between numeric and symbolic components without knowing the details of the components themselves. In essence, it integrates symbolic software tools (for diagnosis, prognosis, and planning) with non-artificial-intelligence software. SCMG executes a process of symbolic summarization and monitoring of continuous time series data that are being abstractly represented as symbolic templates of information exchange. This summarization process enables such symbolic-reasoning computing systems as artificial-intelligence planning systems to evaluate the significance and effects of channels of data more efficiently than would otherwise be possible. As a result of the increased efficiency in representation, reasoning software can monitor more channels and is thus able to perform monitoring and control functions more effectively.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Cryptography, Terminology

Thermal Model of a Current-Carrying Wire in a Vacuum

A computer program implements a thermal model of an insulated wire carrying electric current and surrounded by a vacuum. The model includes the effects of Joule heating, conduction of heat along the wire, and radiation of heat from the outer surface of the insulation on the wire. The model takes account of the temperature dependences of the thermal and electrical properties of the wire, the emissivity of the insulation, and the possibility that not only can temperature vary along the wire but, in addition, the ends of the wire can be thermally grounded at different temperatures. The resulting second-order differential equation for the steady-state temperature as a function of position along the wire is highly nonlinear. The wire is discretized along its length, and the equation is solved numerically by use of an iterative algorithm that utilizes a multidimensional version of the Newton-Raphson method.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Wiring

Compressible Flow Toolbox

The Compressible Flow Toolbox is primarily a MATLAB-language implementation of a set of algorithms that solve approximately 280 linear and nonlinear classical equations for compressible flow. The toolbox is useful for analysis of one-dimensional steady flow with either constant entropy, friction, heat transfer, or Mach number >1. The toolbox also contains algorithms for comparing and validating the equation- solving algorithms against solutions previously published in open literature. The classical equations solved by the Compressible Flow Toolbox are as follows:

The isentropic-flow equations, The Fanno flow equations (pertaining to flow of an ideal gas in a pipe with friction), The Rayleigh flow equations (pertaining to frictionless flow of an ideal gas, with heat transfer, in a pipe of constant cross section), The normal-shock equations, The oblique-shock equations, and The expansion equations.
Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Mathematical models, Gases

Code for Multiblock CFD and Heat-Transfer Computations

The NASA Glenn Research Center General Multi-Block Navier-Stokes Convective Heat Transfer Code, Glenn- HT, has been used extensively to predict heat transfer and fluid flow for a variety of steady gas turbine engine problems. Recently, the Glenn-HT code has been completely rewritten in Fortran 90/95, a more object-oriented language that allows programmers to create code that is more modular and makes more efficient use of data structures. The new implementation takes full advantage of the capabilities of the Fortran 90/95 programming language. As a result, the Glenn-HT code now provides dynamic memory allocation, modular design, and unsteady flow capability. This allows for the heat-transfer analysis of a full turbine stage. The code has been demonstrated for an unsteady inflow condition, and gridding efforts have been initiated for a full turbine stage unsteady calculation. This analysis will be the first to simultaneously include the effects of rotation, blade interaction, film cooling, and tip clearance with recessed tip on turbine heat transfer and cooling performance. Future plans call for the application of the new Glenn-HT code to a range of gas turbine engine problems of current interest to the heat-transfer community. The new unsteady flow capability will allow researchers to predict the effect of unsteady flow phenomena upon the convective heat transfer of turbine blades and vanes. Work will also continue on the development of conjugate heat-transfer capability in the code, where simultaneous solution of convective and conductive heattransfer domains is accomplished. Finally, advanced turbulence and fluid flow models and automatic gridding techniques are being developed that will be applied to the Glenn-HT code and solution process.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computational fluid dynamics, Computer software and hardware, Heat transfer

General Flow-Solver Code for Turbomachinery Applications

Phantom is a computer code intended primarily for real-fluid turbomachinery problems. It is based on Corsair, an ideal-gas turbomachinery code, developed by the same authors, which evolved from the ROTOR codes from NASA Ames. Phantom is applicable to real and ideal fluids, both compressible and incompressible, flowing at subsonic, transonic, and supersonic speeds. It utilizes structured, overset, O- and H-type zonal grids to discretize flow fields and represent relative motions of components. Values on grid boundaries are updated at each time step by bilinear interpolation from adjacent grids. Inviscid fluxes are calculated to thirdorder spatial accuracy using Roe’s scheme. Viscous fluxes are calculated using second-order-accurate central differences. The code is second-order accurate in time. Turbulence is represented by a modified Baldwin-Lomax algebraic model. The code offers two options for determining properties of fluids: One is based on equations of state, thermodynamic departure functions, and corresponding state principles. The other, which is more efficient, is based on splines generated from tables of properties of real fluids. Phantom currently contains fluid-property routines for water, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, kerosene, methane, and carbon monoxide as well as ideal gases.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware

Probabilistic Prediction of Lifetimes of Ceramic Parts

ANSYS/CARES/PDS is a software system that combines the ANSYS Probabilistic Design System (PDS) software with a modified version of the Ceramics Analysis and Reliability Evaluation of Structures Life (CARES/Life) Version 6.0 software. [A prior version of CARES/Life was reported in “Program for Evaluation of Reliability of Ceramic Parts” (LEW-16018), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20, No. 3 (March 1996), page 28.] CARES/Life models effects of stochastic strength, slow crack growth, and stress distribution on the overall reliability of a ceramic component. The essence of the enhancement in CARES/Life 6.0 is the capability to predict the probability of failure using results from transient finiteelement analysis. ANSYS PDS models the effects of uncertainty in material properties, dimensions, and loading on the stress distribution and deformation. ANSYS/CARES/PDS accounts for the effects of probabilistic strength, probabilistic loads, probabilistic material properties, and probabilistic tolerances on the lifetime and reliability of the component. Even failure probability becomes a stochastic quantity that can be tracked as a response variable. ANSYS/CARES/PDS enables tracking of all stochastic quantities in the design space, thereby enabling more precise probabilistic prediction of lifetimes of ceramic components.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Ceramics, Parts

STRANAL-PMC Version 2.0

Version 2.0 of the Strain Rate Dependent Analysis of Polymer Matrix Composites (STRANAL-PMC) software has been released. A prior version was reported in “Analyzing Loads and Strains in Polymer-Matrix Composites” (LEW- 17227), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 11 (November 2002), page 36. To recapitulate: Modified versions of constitutive equations of viscoplasticity of metals are used to represent deformation of a polymeric matrix. The equations are applied in a micromechanical approach, proceeding upward from slices of unit cells, through the ply level, to the laminate level. The constitutive equations are integrated in time by a Runge-Kutta technique. To predict the ultimate strength of each composite ply, failure criteria are implemented within the micromechanics. The inputs to STRANAL-PMC are the laminate geometry, properties of the fiber and matrix materials, and applied stress or strain versus time. The outputs are time-dependent stresses and strains at the slice, ply, and laminate levels. The improvements in version 2.0 include more rigorous representation of hydrostatic- stress effects in the matrix, refinement and extension of ply failure models, and capabilities to analyze transverse shear stresses. Version 2.0 can be implemented as a material-model code within transient dynamic finite-element codes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Composite materials, Materials properties, Polymers

Micromechanics and Piezo Enhancements of HyperSizer

The commercial HyperSizer aerospacecomposite- material-structure-sizing software has been enhanced by incorporating capabilities for representing coupled thermal, piezoelectric, and piezomagnetic effects on the levels of plies, laminates, and stiffened panels. This enhancement is based on a formulation similar to that of the pre-existing HyperSizer capability for representing thermal effects. As a result of this enhancement, the electric and/or magnetic response of a material or structure to a mechanical or thermal load, or its mechanical response to an applied electric or magnetic field can be predicted. In another major enhancement, a capability for representing micromechanical effects has been added by establishment of a linkage between HyperSizer and Glenn Research Center’s Micromechanics Analysis Code With Generalized Method of Cells (MAC/GMC) computer program, which was described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles. The linkage enables HyperSizer to localize to the fiber and matrix level rather than only to the ply level, making it possible to predict local failures and to predict properties of plies from those of the component fiber and matrix materials. Advanced graphical user interfaces and database structures have been developed to support the new HyperSizer micromechanics capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Composite materials

Loci-STREAM Version 0.9

Loci-STREAM is an evolving computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software tool for simulating possibly chemically reacting, possibly unsteady flows in diverse settings, including rocket engines, turbomachines, oil refineries, etc. Loci-STREAM implements a pressure-based flow-solving algorithm that utilizes unstructured grids. (The benefit of low memory usage by pressurebased algorithms is well recognized by experts in the field.) The algorithm is robust for flows at all speeds from zero to hypersonic. The flexibility of arbitrary polyhedral grids enables accurate, efficient simulation of flows in complex geometries, including those of plume-impingement problems. The present version — Loci- STREAM version 0.9 — includes an interface with the Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation (PETSc) library for access to enhanced linear-equation-solving programs therein that accelerate convergence toward a solution. The name “Loci” reflects the creation of this software within the Loci computational framework, which was developed at Mississippi State University for the primary purpose of simplifying the writing of complex multidisciplinary application programs to run in distributed- memory computing environments including clusters of personal computers. Loci has been designed to relieve application programmers of the details of programming for distributed-memory computers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computational fluid dynamics, Mathematical models

Reconfigurable Software for Controlling Formation Flying

Software for a system to control the trajectories of multiple spacecraft flying in formation is being developed to reflect underlying concepts of (1) a decentralized approach to guidance and control and (2) reconfigurability of the control system, including reconfigurability of the software and of control laws. The software is organized as a modular network of software tasks. The computational load for both determining relative trajectories and planning maneuvers is shared equally among all spacecraft in a cluster. The flexibility and robustness of the software are apparent in the fact that tasks can be added, removed, or replaced during flight. In a computational simulation of a representative formation- flying scenario, it was demonstrated that the following are among the services performed by the software:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Flight guidance systems, Spacecraft

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