In your day-to-day life you will come across many engineering problems or projects. The first thought that crop up in your mind will be “How to solve this?”
Here, I am going to share the methods to solve such projects. So basically, there are three methods to solve any engineering problem which are as follows:
- Analytical Method or Hand Calculations
- Numerical Method
- Experimental Method or Physical Testing
Analytical Method or Hand Calculations:
Analytical method is considered to be the most accurate method to solve any engineering problem. In this approach, rigorous hand calculations are carried out using functions and mathematical operations to derive a closed form solution. In few cases this method yields approximate results if the solution is not closed form. It is mainly applicable to simple problems like beams etc.
Numerical methods employ computational techniques which employs high end softwares and computers. It is a part of digital design phase, which means that there is no requirement of a physical model to solve the problem. It is a mathematical representation of a real life complicated problem. While using this method, several assumptions are made to simulate the real-time conditions. Therefore, the results from this method are approximate. So, you can’t believe the results blindly and hence, some sort of validation is required either by physical testing or through hand calculations. This method is extensively used in industry as it saves a lot of time and hence, cost.
Numerical methods are categorized as
- Finite Element Methods (FEM)
- Boundary Element Method (BEM)
- Finite Volume Method (FVM)
- Finite Difference Method (FDM)
Experimental method, also known as physical testing is one of the most reliable method, as you can test the component in the real-time operating conditions. This method yields actual measurements on a physical structure. So, to use this method, you need a physical prototype of the structure you want to solve. To arrive at the final outcome of this method, 3-5 prototypes need to be tested. So, this method is quite time consuming and requires expensive physical setup. This method employs strain gauges, different sensors, equipment, measuring devices etc. to calculate various parameters of the experiment.