Thankfully, the age of stand-alone fixed-input simulation tools is fading away in favor of more flexible and integrated solutions. “Concurrent engineering” once meant automating data translations between monolithic codes, but sophisticated users have demanded more native integration and more automated tools for designing, and not just evaluating point designs. Improvements in both interprocess communications technology and numerical solutions have gone a long way towards meeting those demands.
This paper describes a small slice of a larger on-going effort to satisfy current and future demands for integrated multidisciplinary tools that can be highly customized by end-users or by third parties. Specifically, the ability to integrate fully featured thermal/fluid simulations into Microsoft’s Excel™ and other software is detailed. Users are now able not only to prepare custom user interfaces, they can use these codes as portals that allow integration activities at a larger scale. Previous enabling technologies are first described, then examples and repercussions of current capabilities are presented, and finally in-progress and future technologies are listed.