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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Analyzing Aeroelastic Stability of a Tilt-Rotor Aircraft

Proprotor Aeroelastic Stability Analysis, now at version 4.5 (PASTA 4.5), is a FORTRAN computer program for analyzing the aeroelastic stability of a tilt-rotor aircraft in the airplane mode of flight. The program employs a 10-degree-of-freedom (DOF), discrete- coordinate, linear mathematical model of a rotor with three or more blades and its drive system coupled to a 10-DOF modal model of an airframe. The user can select which DOFs are included in the analysis. Quasisteady strip-theory aerodynamics is employed for the aerodynamic loads on the blades, a quasi-steady representation is employed for the aerodynamic loads acting on the vibrational modes of the airframe, and a stability-derivative approach is used for the aerodynamics associated with the rigid-body DOFs of the airframe. Blade parameters that vary with the blade collective pitch can be obtained by interpolation from a user-defined table. Stability is determined by examining the eigenvalues that are obtained by solving the coupled equations of motions as a matrix eigenvalue problem. Notwithstanding the relative simplicity of its mathematical foundation, PASTA 4.5 and its predecessors have played key roles in a number of engineering investigations over the years.

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Tracking Positions and Attitudes of Mars Rovers

The Surface Attitude Position and Pointing (SAPP) software, which runs on computers aboard the Mars Exploration Rovers, tracks the positions and attitudes of the rovers on the surface of Mars. Each rover acquires data on attitude from a combination of accelerometer readings and images of the Sun acquired autonomously, using a pointable camera to search the sky for the Sun. Depending on the nature of movement commanded remotely by operators on Earth, the software propagates attitude and position by use of either (1) accelerometer and gyroscope readings or (2) gyroscope readings and wheel odometry. Where necessary, visual odometry is performed on images to fine-tune the position updates, particularly on high-wheel-slip terrain. The attitude data are used by other software and ground-based personnel for pointing a high-gain antenna, planning and execution of driving, and positioning and aiming scientific instruments.

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