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Parametric Modeling: A New Paradigm for Mechanisms Education?

[+] Author Affiliations
John A. Mirth

University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI

Paper No. DETC2012-70175, pp. 1497-1502; 6 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The evolution of engineering education is driven, in part, by the tools available. This paper examines how a relatively new tool, that of parametric modeling, can be implemented in the presentation of an introductory course in the design and analysis of mechanisms. The combined graphical and computational power of a parametric modeling system provides an ideal starting point to introduce a variety of common concepts. This paper examines how parametric modeling can be used to analyze mechanism mobility (including degrees-of-freedom, Grashof type, transmission angles, and limits of motion), and velocity (including mechanical advantage) in planar linkages. The use of parametric modeling as a tool for teaching linkage synthesis is also reviewed.

The primary purpose of the paper is to briefly demonstrate the power of parametric modeling and how this tool can form a foundation for mechanism education. The ability to rapidly create and change parametric sketches of mechanisms allows the student much more opportunity to study “what if” scenarios and recognize trends in mechanism analysis and design. The visual and interactive nature of the tool also has excellent compatibility with the highly computer literate background of the modern student. Parametric modeling has the necessary capability to become the paradigm for mechanisms instruction in the 21st century.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Modeling , Education



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