digital tools and references

Visual Test Programming Capability: HP VEE 4.0 enables users to create programs for manufacturing-test, design-characterization, and verification and data-acquisition applications. The professional-development environment includes a program explorer, multiple-document interface, and debugging capabilities. The graphic user interface provides navigation tools that simplify the management of large programs, such as those used to control complex systems that test multiple products.

The program's instrument manager searches for instruments connected to a computer and automatically handles all addressing regardless of whether the test engineer is using drivers or controlling instruments directly. Users can integrate HP VEE objects into other commercial applications and test systems written in standard text-based languages. The ActiveX control encapsulates HP VEE 4.0 user functions for integration into applications that comply with Microsoft's Object Linking and Embedding (OLE).

Hardware: HP 9000 Series 700 or 800 computer running HP-UX; any platform operating in Windows 95 or Windows NT

Developer: Hewlett-Packard Co., Test & Measurement Organization, Box 50637, Palo Alto, CA 94303-9512; (800) 452-4844, extension 5032

Cost: Cost: $2,495 for HP-UX version (HP E2111E); $1,295 for the Windows version (HP E2120E)

Intelligent Models Using VRML With SolidView, engineers can extract dimensional information as well as measure and document internal features of complex assemblies distributed over the Internet in VRML format

SolidView 2.1 supports the communication of three-dimensional mechanical designs and helps minimize the use of 2-D drawings to convey designs. It can import data in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) format. Users can view their designs while they measure and add annotations to communicate design issues. A measure-section capability is included for interior features of a design. Cross sections can be output in DXF format. An option automatically creates DX, DY, and DZ dimensions.

Hardware: IBM-compatible 486 PC or higher with 8 MB of RAM and operating in Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT

Developer: Solid Concepts Inc., 28231 Crocker Ave., Unit 10, Valencia, CA 91355; (805) 257-9300; fax (805) 257-9311

Cost: Free upgrade for SolidView 2.0 customers; $495, SolidView; $495, optional IGES input

System Calculations
Capability: Gas Dynamics performs engineering calculations typically encountered in the design, operation, and management of propulsion systems. The program calculates thermodynamic and transport properties (temperature and pressure, enthalpy and pressure, and entropy and pressure) of gaseous, liquid, and solid species. It also computes power cycles (Carnot and Brayton) as well as power-cycle components and processes (compression, combustion, and expansion). Compressible-flow calculations performed include the velocity of sound, Mach number, properties (stagnation and static), nozzle, normal shock, diffuser, and thrust.

Hardware: IBM-compatible 386 PC or higher with 4 MB of RAM and 4 MB of free hard-disk space, operating in Windows 3.1 or later or Windows 95

Developer: Engineering Software, Box 1180, Germantown, MD 20875; phone/fax (301) 540-3605; e-mail

Cost: $445

Materials Tutor Capability: Designed for engineering students, Mechanics of Materials Tutor 1.0 solves torsion, beam, and plane-stress (Mohr's circle) problems that are encountered in undergraduate textbooks. Mechanics of Materials Tutor also helps professors explain difficult concepts graphically and provides a refresher for mechanics-of-materials concepts.

The program calculates the shearing stress and angle of twist on circular, rectangular, and triangular cross-section shafts when subjected to torsional loads. Users need only input the torque, material properties, and cross-sectional properties.

The beam section solves for bending and shearing stresses in simply supported and cantilever beams. The program allows users to input up to 10 concentrated or distributed loads, or both, along the beam's cross-sectional and material properties; as a result, it can solve almost any beam problem found in an undergraduate textbook. In addition to calculating the bending and shearing stresses, the program computes the reaction loads, shear, moment, maximum shear, and maximum moment, and draws shear and bending-moment diagrams. Users can find the shear, moment, and bending and shear stresses at any point along the beam simply by moving the cursor.

The plane stress or Mohr's circle section solves for the minimum and maximum principal and shearing stresses. The program also finds the two principal planes and draws the Mohr's circle after the user inputs the normal and shear stresses acting on the infinitesimal element. This section also includes a tutorial describing how to draw and interpret the Mohr's circle.

Hardware: IBM-compatible 386 PC or higher operating in Windows 3.1 or higher with an SVGA monitor

Developer: ADJ Engineering, 929 Glenn Ave., North Brunswick, NJ 08902; (908) 247-6017

Cost: $19

Flow Simulation and Visualization Capability: Engineers using 2DFlowPlus can visualize flows induced by the distributions of point and line singularities, such as vortices, dipoles, and sources. The program graphically illustrates the use of potential-flow theory by combining a uniform flow with a variety of singularities to simulate fluid-mechanics problems. Point-and-click singularity insertion and editing are included. Problem simulation allows users to compute and view flow trajectories, equipotential lines, stream lines, pressures, and velocity vectors using full-color contours, iso-quantity lines, and trajectories.

Circulation and force computations are achieved along a user-defined elliptical or rectangular area. Flux computation is along a user-defined line. Particle and strain-element emission is from arbitrary regions in the flow field. Flow quantities are represented graphically in two and three dimensions. The flow field is interactively animated using scalar particle distributions, allowing motion of inserted vortices.

Hardware: IBM or compatible PC with a 486 processor or better running Windows 95 or Windows NT

Developer: Dynaflow Inc., 7210 Pindell School Rd., Fulton, MD 20759; (301) 604-3688; fax (301) 604-3689; e-mail

Cost: $239, single-user version; $89, 2DFlow 1.5 single-user version; $59, upgrade from previous version of 2DFlow

CAM for CADKEY Capability: FastNURBS NC is a multisurface machining package that works within the CADKEY for Windows 3-D mechanical CAD program. FastNURBS NC machines fully or partially surfaced parts, like those found in mold-making and tool-and-die operations, and automatically generates a wide variety of cutting styles across different surfaces. The software generates interface-free tool paths even when the underlying geometry has gaps and overlaps; intersecting surfaces do not have to be trimmed properly.

FastNURBS NC supports Z-planar roughing, contour roughing with spiral pocketing and ramping, parallel- and radial-plane finishing, constant Z-plane finishing, and automatic pencil tracing of fillet corners and valleys. It handles ball, flat-end, and fillet cutters for all machining styles. Numerically controlled output can be generated in several formats, including APT CL; a configurable postprocessor-definition utility is also included for creating custom postprocessors.

Hardware: IBM-compatible PC operating in Window 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT with 32 MB of RAM and running CADKEY for Windows

Developer: FastSURF Inc., 6 S. Washington, Suite 14, Sonora, CA 95370; (209) 536-1487; fax (209) 536-0592; World Wide Web

Cost: $4,000

Analyzing Flow and Thermal Energy INSTED integrates computational fluid dynamics (in two and three dimensions), engineering empiricals, and computer-aided energy-design tools such as unit-conversion capabilities and plotting tools. Capabilities for the engineering empiricals include the analysis of fins and fin arrays, conduction in composite slabs or radial systems, heat transfer in external or internal flows, heat exchangers, and series-piping systems.The program provides access to a database containing thermophysical properties for gases, liquids, and solids; pipe schedules; K factors for minor losses; absolute pipe roughness; sample film coefficients; economic velocities for the flow of various fluids in a pipe; tube counts for shell and tube heat exchangers; and HVAC and R tools.

Hardware: IBM-compatible PC running DOS, Windows 95, or Windows NT; Unix workstation

Developer: Thaerocomp Technical Corp., Box 1527, Stony Brook, NY 11790-0609; (800) 490-1004

Cost: Starts at $650 and depends on module and computing platform.

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1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers