A method for determining margins in conceptual-level design via probabilistic methods is described. The goal of this research is to develop a rigorous foundation for determining design margins in complex multidisciplinary systems. As an example application, the investigated method is applied to conceptual-level design of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) cruise stage thermal control system. The method begins with identifying a set oftradable system-level parameters. Models that determine each of these tradable parameters are then created.

Thermoelectric couples are solid-state devices capable of generating electrical power from a temperature gradient (known as the Seebeck effect) or converting electrical energy into a temperature gradient (known as the Peltier effect). Thermoelectric coolers, being solid state devices, have no moving parts which makes them inherently reliable and ideal for cooling components in a system sensitive to mechanical vibration. The ability to use TECs to heat as well as cool makes them suitable for applications requiring temperature stabilization of a device over a specified temperature range.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are interested in developing more efficient vehicle air conditioning (A/C) systems to reduce fuel consumption in advanced vehicle designs. Vehicle A/C systems utilizing electrically-driven compressors are one possible system design approach to increasing A/C system performance over various drive cycle conditions.

This paper describes a vehicle-level simulation model for climate control and powertrain cooling developed and currently utilized at GM. The tool was developed in response to GM's need to speed vehicle development for HVAC and powertrain cooling to meet world-class program execution timing (18 to 24 month vehicle development cycles). At the same time the simulation tool had to complement GM's strategy to move additional engineering responsibility to its HVAC suppliers. This simulation tool called "e-Thermal" was quickly developed and currently is in widespread (global) use across GM.

e-Thermal is a vehicle level thermal analysis tool developed by General Motors to simulate the transient performance of the entire vehicle HVAC and Powertrain cooling system. It is currently in widespread (global) use across GM. This paper discusses the details of the airconditioning module of e-Thermal. Most of the literature available on transient modeling of the air conditioning systems is based on finite difference approach that require large simulation times. This has been overcome by appropriately modeling the components using Sinda/Fluint.