Mechanical Design can be defined as the process by which resources or energy is converted into useful mechanical forms, or the mechanisms so as to obtain useful output from the systems in the desired form as per the needs of the human beings. Mechanical design can lead to the formation of the entirely new system or it can lead to up-gradation or improvement of the existing system. The design process is an information intensive one, and design engineers have been found to spend 56% of their time engaged in various information behaviours, including 14% actively searching for information. In addition to design engineers’ core technical competence, research has demonstrated the critical nature of their personal attributes, project management skills, and cognitive abilities to succeed in the role.
Finite element analysis (FEA) is a tool widely used by engineering professionals. It can also be a valuable educational tool for illustrating the distribution of stress, strain, fluid flow, and temperature in a component. However, it is also a tool that can be misused by those that have not received proper training. It has been offered as an elective in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at the Universities for a number of years.
Fundamentally, FEA is a numerical method for solving complex engineering problems. The most common problems are related to structural analysis, heat transfer and fluid flow. Technically, the solution involves dividing a structure or domain into discrete elements which are joined at common points called nodes, writing equations that describe the behavior of each element, applying loads and boundary conditions, assembling an overall stiffness matrix and solving the set of resulting simultaneous equations. However, through the use of FEA computer codes, the engineer is no longer burdened with the tedious process of writing equations for each element nor with the matrix algebra required to obtain the solution.
Using computer-based codes, the analyst must simply be able to generate solid models of a component, discretize the model into elements, apply loads and boundary conditions, wait for the computer to perform the analysis and interpret the results. Most of the modern commercial FEA computer codes in use today make this a relatively simple process. However, there is a good deal more to FEA than mechanically stepping through this process. A well-trained engineer has an appreciation, if not a complete understanding, of the mathematics behind the computer code, the importance of an adequate mesh, the critical nature of the correct application of loads and boundary conditions, and an ability to check analytical results using basic engineering hand calculations.
Engineering optimization is the subject which uses optimization techniques to achieve design goals in engineering. It is sometimes referred to as design optimization. Design optimization is an engineering design methodology using a mathematical formulation of a design problem to support selection of the optimal design among many alternatives. Design optimization involves the following stages:
- Variables: Describe the design alternatives
- Objective: Elected functional combination of variables (to be maximized or minimized)
- Constraints: Combination of Variables expressed as equalities or inequalities that must be satisfied for any acceptable design alternative
- Feasibility: Values for set of variables that satisfies all constraints and minimizes/maximizes Objective.
A simulation is an approximate imitation of the operation of a process or system; the act of simulating first requires a model is developed. This model is a well-defined description of the simulated subject, and represents its key characteristics, such as its behaviour, functions and abstract or physical properties. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents its operation over time.
Simulation is used in many contexts, such as simulation of technology for performance optimization, safety engineering, testing, training, education, and engineering optimizations. Often, computer experiments are used to study simulation models. Simulation is also used with scientific modelling of natural systems or human systems to gain insight into their functioning, as in economics. Simulation can be used to show the eventual real effects of alternative conditions and courses of action. Simulation is also used when the real system cannot be engaged, because it may not be accessible, or it may be dangerous or unacceptable to engage, or it is being designed but not yet built, or it may simply not exist.
Key issues in simulation include the acquisition of valid source information about the relevant selection of key characteristics and behaviours, the use of simplifying approximations and assumptions within the simulation, and fidelity and validity of the simulation outcomes. Procedures and protocols for model verification and validation are an ongoing field of academic study, refinement, research and development in simulations technology or practice, particularly in the field of computer simulation.
Now, what is Acamech doing?
Acamech provides feasible and high-performing scientific simulations for mechanical systems. Acamech’s fields expertise are in Energy Conversion, Multi-Phase Flow, Nano Technology, Micro and Nano Electro Mechanical Systems, as well as Fluid-Structure interaction.
Acamech’s provides education and training, as well as consultations in these scientific fields. It also teams up with other scientific centers and individual scientists, on specific applied studies.
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