This paper provides an overview of the non-grey radiation modeling capabilities of Cullimore and Ring’s Thermal Desktop® Version 4.8 SindaWorks software. The non-grey radiation analysis theory implemented by Sindaworks and the methodology used by the software are outlined.

Thermal Desktop has the capability of modeling free molecular heat transfer (FMHT), but limitations are observed when working with large models during transient operation. To overcome this limitation, a MatLab program was developed that processes the Thermal Desktop free molecular conductors. It sets up the logic and arrays for the Thermal Desktop GUI used by SINDA/FLUINT. The theory of free molecular heating is presented along with the process required to setup the conductors, arrays, logic and Fortran subroutines for FMHT modeling in Thermal Desktop.

Maintaining low temperature payloads through atmospheric reentry and ground recovery is becoming a larger focus in the space program as work in biology, cryogenic and other temperature dependent sciences becomes a higher goal on the International Space Station (ISS) and extraterrestrial surfaces. Paragon analyzes reentry system thermal control, particularly technology regarding small thermally controlled payloads anticipated for use in sample return from the International Space Station.

Most radiation analysis tools in use in the aerospace industry assume that grey conditions hold. That is, over the range of temperatures considered, optical properties are assumed to have a constant value with respect to wavelength. This reasonable approximation for systems that are near room temperature may show significant error at temperature extremes, particulary for conductive materials at cryogenic temperatures. Other areas where non-grey analysis may be appropriate is in furnace and lamp design, and in systems with specialized optical filters such as thermalphotovoltaics.

Thermal engineering has long been left out of the concurrent engineering environment dominated by CAD (computer aided design) and FEM (finite element method) software.  Current tools attempt to force the thermal design process into an environment primarily created to support structural analysis, which results in inappropriate thermal models. As a result, many thermal engineers either build models “by hand” or use geometric user interfaces that are separate from and have little useful connection, if any, to CAD and FEM systems.