NASA’s Composite Stress & Size Optimization Software at CAMX
Shawn Wasserman posted on October 06, 2014 |

Orion Test Vehicle with circular heat shield at base.

Participants of the 2014 Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) will receive a NASA treat as the Collier Research Corporation (CRC) demonstrates their CAE software HyperSizer. This software was used by NASA’s Orion team to reduce the weight of the Orion’s heat shield.

HyperSizer is a commercialized CAE software that came out of 20 years of NASA and CRC development. It is used for stress and sizing optimizations to help limit aircraft weight. HyperSizer can also be used for wind turbines and space vehicles. The software works with composites and metals, producing a typical weight savings of 25-40%. The program also makes it easier to produce stress reports for FAA certification.


NESC heat shield with titanium orthogrid.

Orion Test Vehicle with circular heat shield at base.

As for the Orion team, they were able to use HyperSizer to produce a 23% reduction of weight from the heat shield’s baseline. This represents a reduction of hundreds of pounds. The heat shield will be tested once NASA moves to manned test flights of the Orion craft. For now the next unmanned test flight is scheduled for December 2014.

CRC aerospace stress engineer James Ainsworth will make the CAMX presentation, which will cover the analysis and analytical methods used to optimize the Orion heat shield.

Craig Collier, president and founder of CRC said, “We’ve developed a software program for flight certification in the zero-tolerance environment of NASA … We’ve continued to increase HyperSizer’s speed and robustness, while reducing necessary user input and creating a more flexible and open platform. This makes it ideal for small teams of engineers that need to guarantee the repeatability of results before production, and ensures they can do so in a short amount of time.”

In addition to the presentation, CRC representatives will be available at CAMX to answer user questions and provide information to those interested in the product. CAMX will run October 13-16th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

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