SwRI wins two R&D 100 Awards for 2003      image of PDF button

Software code, transmission test cell honored in Chicago ceremony

A laboratory apparatus that simulates vehicle powertrain operations and a software code developed jointly with NASA were among the 100 most significant technological achievements of the past year, according to R&D Magazine.

The Virtual Vehicle Transmission Test Cell (VVTTC) and the NASGRO® 4.0 Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue Crack growth Analysis Software brought the Institute's total of R&D 100 Award winners to 26 since the program began in 1971. The awards were presented in Chicago on October 16.


Developers of the Virtual Vehicle Transmission Test Cell from SwRI are (from left) Joe Steiber, Matthew Castiglione, Bapiraju Surampudi and Gary Stecklein.


The VVTTC (see "Testing New Designs in the Loop, Not On the Oval," Technology Today, Summer 2003), uses hardware-in-the-loop technology and a software-controlled simulator to determine how a powertrain or related component would perform if it were integrated into a vehicle.

The equipment and test cell were developed as part of a program funded by General Motors Corporation to test transmissions in the laboratory using an electric motor to simulate an internal combustion engine. A second electric motor is used to provide road load, grade resistance and vehicle inertia simulation in the output of the transmission.


NASGRO developers at Southwest Research Institute are (from left) Dr. G. Graham Chell, Dr. R. Craig McClung, Brian M. Gardner, Dr. Michael P. Enright, Joseph W. Cardinal and Dr. Yi-Der Lee.


NASGRO 4.0 (see "Simulating Failure for Success") was developed by SwRI and NASA under a 2000 Space Act Agreement and is based on a code developed by NASA beginning in the 1980s. Originally called NASA/FLAGRO, the code was designed to provide fracture control analysis for manned space programs.

NASGRO calculates the crack growth rate and remaining structural life of components undergoing cyclic loading and also calculates the conditions, such as loads and crack sizes, that cause failure by fracture. NASGRO 4.0 is the first commercial version of the code.

Published in the Fall 2003 issue of Technology Today®, published by Southwest Research Institute. For more information, contact Joe Fohn.

Technics Fall 2003 Technology Today
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