Large space structures are capable of large thermal deformations in the space environment. A case of large-scale thermal deformation was observed in the analysis of the Near Earth Asteroid Scout solar sail, with predicted tip displacements of more than one meter in seven-meter booms. Experimental data supports the broad conclusions of the analysis, but shows poor agreement on the details of the thermal deformation. Prediction that is precise enough to drive engineering decisions will require coupled thermal-stress analysis with features that are not found in current multiphysics codes.

This study explores the capability of Thermal Desktop to map temperatures from a thermal model to a Nastran model to evalautate thermal stress and distortion

A study of the mechanical systems contributing to the design and performance of a picosatellite’s mission in low-Earth orbit (LEO) was performed through design and analysis. The unique architecture of this satellite stems from a form factor established by the internationally recognized CubeSat Program. This CubeSat-Plus architecture limits the satellite’s size to be no larger than a 10 x 10 x 15 cm cube with an overall mass not exceeding 2 kg.

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.