Abstract

We have observed that many designers use spreadsheet programs for preliminary parametric design calculations. The primary reason for this appears to be the flexibility and ease of use of spreadsheets as compared to more advanced analysis tools. However, current commercially available spreadsheets were originally designed for finance and accounting and do not naturally support the analytical techniques used in design and engineering. Attempts to adapt spreadsheets for engineering have largely been limited to adding features such as support for trigonometric functions. In this paper, we propose a fundamentally different kind of spreadsheet for use in preliminary parametric design. We describe the features of this spreadsheet that make it especially suitable for preliminary parametric design, discuss the theoretical basis for implementing it and present the results of preliminary user tests.

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