Volume 9, Number 4 July/August 2001 Advanced Technologies
Free NASA Software a Hit with Public
A software program developed at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to calculate pipe stress and offered free to the public has been transferred to more than 150 companies and individuals, according to the KSC Technology Commercialization Office.
Commercialization Manager Lew Parrish explained that KSC wants to share the NASA-developed Piping Stress Analysis Software with companies needing a quick, easy-to-use and efficient method of calculating pipe stress in straight pipe applications. Current methods used for piping stress analysis tend to rely on basic formulas and a hand calculator, or on complex software packages that are often difficult to use for even simple cases.
NASA KSC Engineer Eric Thaxton developed the utility that calculates the stress, the working pressure or the required pipe wall thickness in a simple, straightforward manner. The Piping Stress Analysis Software offers individuals and companies an opportunity to use a product that is more powerful and flexible than traditional paper and calculator techniques, and it is easier to use than most of the currently available software packages.
The software was originally written in Fortran 77 and ported for a DEC VAX computer running the VMS operating system. Another NASA Engineer, Lewis Lineberger, rewrote the program in C language, allowing it to run on a PC in a DOS, Windows or Windows NT environment.
Those interested in trying the software vary from private individuals to universities, the Coast Guard, engineering consulting firms, construction companies, architects, smelting companies and other NASA Centers. Most recipients of the software say they want it for internal company use, although some are evaluating it for possible marketing as a commercial product.
KSC sees potential commercial uses in the aerospace and petrochemical industries, nuclear and conventional power plants, and consulting engineering firms. Benefits of the software include its ease of use and flexibility; its compliance with industry standards, including ASME/ANSI and JIC piping codes; and its use of standard and user-definable materials.
This software calculates the stress, working pressure or the required pipe wall thickness for a given straight pipe application. It is not designed to work with curved or angled piping. The program allows the user to select a specific material from a database of commonly used materials or to create a customized database for an unlisted material.
The program analyzes pipes according to several sets of requirements, such as the ASME/ANSI B31.1 and B31.3 piping codes and the JIC hydraulics code. Both standard and SI metric versions are available.
This utility is based on the well-established theory of elasticity, the strength of materials and the work of the industry piping standard committees. It utilizes the Lame equation, standard piping code equations and custom-derived elastic-plastic equations for high pressures. This program is easier to use and more compact than other commercially available packages of its type, thus filling a need for many users. It is also more flexible since it can calculate the stress level in a given pipe at a given pressure, the minimum pipe wall thickness or the maximum allowable pressure. Q
For more information, contact Wendy Mizerek at Kennedy Space Center, & 321/867-4879. Please mention you read about it in Innovation.