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.

Recent years have witnessed more improvement to the SINDA/FLUINT thermohydraulic analyzer than at any other time in its long history. These improvements have included not only expansions in analytic power, but also the additions of high-level modules that offer revolutions in thermal/ fluid engineering itself.

Over the past 15 years, the industry standard tool for thermal analysis, SINDA, has been expanded to include advanced thermodynamic and hydrodynamic solutions (“FLUINT”). With the recent culmination of the unique modeling tools, SINDA/ FLUINT has arguably become the most complete general-purpose thermohydraulic network analyzer that is available.

Thermal analysis is typically performed using a point design approach, where a single model is analyzed one analysis case at a time. Changes to the system design are analyzed by updating the thermal radiation and conduction models by hand, which can become a bottleneck when attempting to adopt a concurrent engineering approach. This paper presents the parametric modeling features that have been added to Thermal DesktopTM to support concurrent engineering. The thermal model may now be characterized by a set of design variables that are easily modified to reflect system level design changes.

Historically, thermal/fluid modeling began as a means of validating and sometimes correcting passively cooled designs that had been proposed by nonspecialists in heat transfer and fluid flow. As dissipation fluxes have risen, and as air cooling reaches the limits of its usefulness, involvement of thermal engineers is required earlier in the design process. Thermal engineers are now commonly responsible for sizing and selecting active cooling components such as fans and heat sinks, and increasingly single and two-phase coolant loops.