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Matlab Courseware For Machine Design

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.840.1 - 8.840.5



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Paper Authors

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Shih-Liang (Sid) Wang

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MATLAB Courseware for Machine Design

Shih-Liang (Sid) Wang Department of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC 27411, USA Tel (336)334-7620, Fax (336)334-7417,


MATLAB Courseware for Machine Design is a comprehensive collection of MATLAB modules to supplement teaching and learning in machine design. The courseware is to help users visualize the computation process with interactive graphics. Each courseware module has a GUI (Graphical User Interface) with a consistent format to allow users to enter data and display results in both graphical and numerical forms. The GUI allows a different set of input before quitting for “what- if” scenarios. Additionally, each module has a help window to explain the computation process.


Equations, tables, and figures in engineering textbooks are being supplemented by electronic versions to automate the computation process. For example, Roark's Formula for Stress and Strain [1] has an interactive version based on TK Solver [2]. The Engineering Mechanics Toolbox [3] is a MATLAB package to supplement textbooks in Mechanics of Materials, covering axial loading, shafts, beams, columns, and Mohr's Circle.

The MATLAB courseware is developed to assist teaching and learning in machine design. For example, it takes a long time to demonstrate one example of the shear force and bending moment diagrams of a beam because the computation and drawings are quite extensive. With the courseware, many examples can be illustrated quickly and effectively, and students can use it after class to review the concept and for homework assignments.

MATLAB is chosen for the courseware because in many universities, it is the primary computational software in engineering. MATLAB integrates computation, visualization and programming in an environment that is easy to learn and use. MATLAB is also easy for GUI development with GUIDE (Graphical User Interface Development Environment) [4]. GUIDE provides a set of tools to create a GUI by dragging and dropping different components, a process similar to that in Visual BASIC [2]. However, as compared to Visual Basic, codes in MATLAB are much shorter and the coding is much faster.

Courseware Overview

The courseware covers topics in strength of materials, static and fatigue failures, and design of machine elements. For the subject of strength of materials, a module calculates and plots bi-axial and tri-axial Mohr circles (as shown in Figure 1) with a GUI of biaxial stresses as input, and principal stresses and the maximum shear stress as output. In Figures 2a and 2b, the beam module


Wang, S. S. (2003, June), Matlab Courseware For Machine Design Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11897

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