CRTech Blog


July 08, 2016

Doug Bell

My career as a thermal engineer started with balloons.

Not the ones you see at birthday parties or even the big colorful ones full of hot air, but scientific research balloons: 400-foot diameter bags of helium carrying thousands of pounds of scientific...

June 17, 2016

Brent Cullimore

I like coffee, and when I need it, I need it now.

I have an electric pot that is powerful enough to dim the lights a little when I turn it on. I imagine Homer Simpson snoring with his feet resting on the control panel. When I turn on the...

May 24, 2016

Brent Cullimore

Being perturbed isn’t much fun if you are a human.

But models love getting perturbed. We don’t perturb them enough, in fact.

OK, perturb has negative connotations. And perturber just sounds wrong in so many ways!


May 03, 2016

Jane Baumann

For much of my career I was fortunate enough to work in the world of heat pipes and loop heat pipes. While working in the Aerospace industry many years ago, I would often get a phone call from a program with a thermal problem. I would walk into their...

April 15, 2016

Brent Cullimore

This is a story of how one bird drains while another bird drinks.

The bird that drains is a commercial airliner.

The bird that drinks is a toy. Though I really wish it had been this chirpy chap:


April 05, 2016

 Mark Schmidt 

...and other advances in thermal modeling from our humble beginnings with slide rules to advanced new curved elements developed specifically for thermal analysis.  

In days of yore, the world was flat. You...

March 28, 2016

Brent Cullimore

You are hiking in the Serengeti. A twig snaps in bushes a few feet away from you. Is it the wind, or a lion?

As someone whose ancestors jumped to a worst-case conclusion (and as a result were less likely to become someone else’s lunch), we humans...

March 16, 2016

Brent Cullimore

Let me start by confessing that I don’t know much about Bitcoin, much less Bitcoin mining. I’m not even sure you can refer to them as ‘Bitcoins’ if you have two of them. You certainly can’t rub them together and make sparks. (They are sparks, if...

March 10, 2016

Brent Cullimore

I admit that I have chafed in the past at being called a thermal engineer. I have degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Thermosciences. I consider myself more of a fluid/thermodynamics type: I love bubbles, and I think it is a sin if you stir cream...

January 12, 2016

Brent Cullimore

I was told that, after a few years of producing this blog, our true identity would become evident. At least if we were true to ourselves, and if we didn’t just turn this into blatant marketing and self-indulgent yakety yak....


dispersed vs. coalesced front

Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 1-2pm PT, 4-5pm ET

This webinar describes flat-front modeling, including where it is useful and how it works. A flat-front assumption is a specialized two-phase flow method that is particularly useful in the priming (filling or re-filling with liquid) of gas-filled or evacuated lines. It also finds use in simulating the gas purging of liquid-filled lines, and in modeling vertical large-diameter piping.

Prerequisites: It is helpful to have a background in two-phase flow, and to have some previous experience with FloCAD Pipes.

Register here for this webinar

FloCAD model of a loop heat pipe

Since a significant portion of LHPs consists of simple tubing, they are more flexible and easier to integrate into thermal structures than their traditional linear cousins: constant conductance and variable conductance heat pipes (CCHPs, VCHPs). LHPs are also less constrained by orientation and able to transport more power. LHPs have been used successfully in many applications, and have become a proven tool for spacecraft thermal control systems.

However, LHPs are not simple, neither in the details of their evaporator and compensation chamber (CC) structures nor in their surprising range of behaviors. Furthermore, there are uncertainties in their performance that must be treated with safety factors and bracketing methods for design verification.

Fortunately, some of the authors of CRTech fluid analysis tools also happened to have been involved in the early days of LHP technology development, so it is no accident that Thermal Desktop ("TD") and FloCAD have the unique capabilities necessary to model LHPs. Some features are useful at a system level analysis (including preliminary design), and others are necessary to achieve a detailed level of simulation (transients, off-design, condenser gradients).

CRTech is offering a four-part webinar series on LHPs and approaches to modeling them. Each webinar is designed to be attended in the order they were presented. While the first webinar presumes little knowledge of LHPs or their analysis, for the last three webinars you are presumed to have a basic knowledge TD/FloCAD two-phase modeling.

Part 1 provides an overview of LHP operation and unique characteristics
Part 2 introduces system-level modeling of LHPs using TD/FloCAD.
Part 3 covers an important aspect of getting the right answers: back-conduction and core state variability.
Part 4 covers detailed modeling of LHPs in TD/FloCAD such that transient operations such as start-up, gravity assist, and thermostatic control can be simulated.