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.

This program was written by James Borders of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-41067.