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ME101: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering

  • Unit 3: Introduction to Engineering Computations  

    In this unit you will how to perform some basic engineering computations using the freely available software Scilab.  This tool is similar to many other computational software commonly used by engineers, so the skills learned here will be applicable to other professional situations you may encounter.

    You will learn the software here by performing several examples which allow you to employ specific syntax or grammar.  If you perform enough of these examples, you may internalize that grammar (or way of computational thinking). You will specifically look at data entry, arithmetic manipulations, data display, equation solving, and matrix manipulations.

    This unit is an introduction to computation.  More thorough coverage is available within The Saylor Foundation’s ME205: Numerical Methods for Engineers.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory

    This unit will take you approximately 19 hours to complete.

    ☐    Subunit 3.1: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 3.2: 3 hours

    ☐    Subunit 3.3: 6 hours

    ☐    Subunit 3.4: 4 hours

    ☐    Subunit 3.5: 4 hours

    Unit3 Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

    • download and install a program for engineering computations;
    • perform several basic computations in Scilab including matrix manipulations and linear equation solving; and
    • perform data analysis and display using Scilab.
  • 3.1 Downloading and Installing Scilab  

  • 3.2 Downloading and Getting Acquainted with a Manual for Scilab  

    • Reading: Scilab.org’s “Introduction to Scilab”

      Link: Scilab.org’s “Introduction to Scilab” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above and download the PDF available at the top of the page. There are many other manuals available but this is a good place to get started.  Read Chapter 1 and 2.  Then, perform the exercises at the end of Chapter 2.  Note that this resource is used for the exercises in subunit 3.3.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • 3.3 Specific Tools in Scilab  

  • 3.3.1 Preliminaries  

    Note: Please read Chapter 3 from the manual you began to read under subunit 3.2 and perform the exercises in section 3.13 of the manual.

  • 3.3.2 Matrices  

    Note: Please read Chapter 4 from the manual you began to read under subunit 3.2 and perform the exercises at the end of the chapter.  In mechanical engineering, vector and matrix operations are of special importance. For example, one might need to use matrices to solve a large system of linear equations.

  • 3.3.3 Plotting  

    Note: Please read Chapter 7 from the manual you began to read under subunit 3.2, which is on creating plots. You may need to refer to Chapter 5 and 6 to understand the looping and function syntax.  Please perform the exercises at the end of Chapter 7.

  • 3.4 Solving Equations  

  • 3.4.1 Linear Systems  

    • Reading: University of New England’s “Linear Algebra in Scilab”

      Link: University of New England’s “Linear Algebra in Scilab” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above scroll down to download the PDF for Lecture 11.  Read the entire document.  Note how simple it is to solve a linear system once you understand the syntax of vectors and matrices.  Be sure to follow along with the examples.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • 3.4.2 Solving Nonlinear Equations with Iterative Methods  

    • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Solving Nonlinear Equations with Iterative Methods”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Solving Nonlinear Equations with Iterative Methods” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the entire document.  Follow the example and perform the exercise.  Check your results against the answers provided.

      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.  It is attributed to The Saylor Foundation.

  • 3.5 Data Fitting  

    • Reading: Youngstown State University: Javed Alam’s “SCILAB Functions Dealing With Data Fitting”

      Link: Youngstown State University: Javed Alam’s “SCILAB Functions Dealing With Data Fitting” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the entire webpage.  This resource will help you learn about data fitting using SCILAB.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: University of New England’s “Least Squares”

      Link: University of New England’s “Least Squares” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above and scroll to download the PDF for Lecture 16.  Read the entire document.  Note how simple it is to solve a linear system once you understand the syntax of vectors and matrices.  Please follow along with the examples.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above