The problem of nonlinear bending of beams has been of special interest to many engineering mechanics researchers through the years. In the presented paper, the development of an interactive Graphical User Interface (GUI) module for investigating large deflections of circular shaped flexible beams subjected to an end concentrated load is discussed. The numerical computations in the developed module are performed using various special tools available in MATLAB. The module employs the GUIDE (Graphical User Interface Development Environment) feature of this software package to allow the user to interactively prescribe various beam and loading parameters to generate the output in the desired form. Even though MATLAB is widely used in many educational institutions and corporations all across the world, the utility of the GUIDE feature of this powerful tool is relatively unrecognized or underutilized. The developed module can serve as an effective and invaluable tool for the design of flexible beams.
In an earlier paper of the author published in the proceedings of the 2009 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE), the development of a toolkit created using LabVIEW for determining multiple equilibriums configurations of straight cantilever beams subjected to inclined end loads were discussed. The present paper additionally compares and contrasts some of various important features of these two premier engineering software tools (MATLAB & LabVIEW) while presenting the solution for this new problem. The paper can be of special interest not only to the researchers specifically interested in the problem of large deformations of flexible structural components, but also to those searching to find a perfect tool to investigate other class of engineering problems.