Table of Contents
Journal of Computational Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 428073, 9 pages
Research Article

Finite Element Analysis of System-Level Electronic Packages for Space Applications

1Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
2Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA
3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA

Received 25 September 2014; Revised 30 January 2015; Accepted 16 February 2015

Academic Editor: Liudong Xing

Copyright © 2015 Adrien Lambert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thermal analysis was required in order to aid in the design and testing of a radiation tolerant computing (RTC) system using a radiation sensor. During development of the system, different test beds were employed in order to characterize the radiation sensor and its supporting electronic systems. The most common preliminary tests are high altitude balloon tests which allow the sensor to experience cosmic radiation at high altitudes, consistent with space flight operations. In this study, finite element analysis (FEA) was used to evaluate primary system architecture, system support structures, and the flight payload in order to determine if the system would survive preliminary and future testing. ANSYS FEA software was used to create thermal models which accurately simulated convective cooling, system heat generation, and solar radiation loading on the exterior of the payload. The results of the models were then used to optimize payload PC board (PCB) design to ensure that the internal electronic systems would be within acceptable operating temperatures.