March 27, 2013 — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded a contract to become the manager of the Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS) Consortium. NPSS is an advanced object-oriented, non-linear thermodynamic modeling environment used by the aerospace industry for modeling turbo-machinery, rocket engines, environmental control systems, ducting, vapor cycles and other equipment and phenomena. SwRI will assume responsibility for the consortium May 1.
NPSS originated in the 1990s as a NASA Glenn Research Center project with a focus on developing a rapid simulation capability for engine design.
"As industry adopted the software tool, it became more important to aerospace companies because it allowed for collaboration and model sharing for integration with other vehicle system models," said David Ransom, manager of the Machinery Structural Dynamics Section in SwRI's Mechanical Engineering Division. "The NPSS Consortium was formed, and NASA licensed the software to the consortium so industry partners could continue developing it for their needs."
Member companies use the software for preliminary design of new engine systems, sharing engine models across companies and correlating with actual engine test data. Current member companies include a number of major engine manufacturers and aerospace companies, as well as NASA. Ransom noted that other companies and universities have purchased commercial licenses of the software for modeling a variety of systems including industrial gas turbines and concentrating solar power systems.
As consortium manager, SwRI will provide overall project management and engineering support for maintenance and development activities as directed by the member companies.
Ransom said consortium goals for 2013 include completion of a graphical user interface for NPSS to reduce learning time for new users and adding an improved thermodynamic fluid properties modeling capability for fluid flow elements, including the ability to model multi-phase flow for refrigeration cycle models.
NPSS can be obtained by either the purchase of a commercial license or through consortium membership. For more information about NPSS, contact David Ransom at +1 210 522 5281 or contact SwRI Solutions.