Development of a three-dimensionalthermal analysis tool for sounding rockets
This thesis has been performed in collaboration with the Swedish Space Corporation at the
department Science Services. SSC provides services in the areas of spacecraft subsystems,
ground stations and sounding rockets to enable governments, companies and research institutes
to benefit from space. Science Services are responsible for sounding rocket flight missions
allowing customers to perform research in a microgravity environment. Currently, they have
good knowledge how to design the sounding rockets experiment modules to minimize thermal
effects within the system. However, no computational models are available to evaluate and
verify the thermal heat transfer inside of the modules and as such the systems are designed
primarily based on previous experience.
The main purpose of this thesis was to develop a thermal computational model, which would
work as a basis for designing experiment modules. The model would be used in an early stage of
the design process before CAD parts have been designed. This required a flexible model
allowing the user to evaluate different types of components and configurations.
A finite element method (FEM) was used to perform heat transfer calculations in MATLAB. The
development process was divided into three stages, which reduced the complexity of the problem
formulation. The first version was made to approximate heat transfer solution in three
using the Galerkin’s weighed residuals method. The second version was made to
implement the dynamic environment occurring during flight missions. Based on the external
environment, the dynamic process was divided into phases with different boundary conditions.
In the final version internal convection, conductivity between air elements and a GUI was
developed. The versions were verified with COMSOL (2013) and previous measured flight data.
The results from the simulations showed that the internal convection coefficient and the
element’s conductivity have a great impact on how the heat is distributed inside th
e modules. A
low convection will lead to internal temperature peaks, which can cause damage to sensitive
experiment equipment. Also, the results indicated that the external environment does not have a
significant impact on the internal temperatures. The assumptions made and recommendations are
also covered in this thesis.
Keywords: Three-dimensional heat transfer, Finite element method, Sounding rocket,
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