This paper introduces research leading to a computer-aided design tool in which engineering designers can test various design concepts (topologies) in an environment equipped to automatically model the dynamics and conveniently optimize the specified components (given the evaluation criteria defined by human designers). A component repository is developed to store not only the component dynamics models, but also other information such as typical component design constraints and physical constitutive laws. In this paper, automated modeling of design configurations is introduced through a design representation called a conceptual dynamics graph (CD graph) and generic models of various components. CD graphs contain the information on how physical components as well as their generic models are topologically connected. A generic component model can accommodate various types of coupling between this component and its environment. This paper also discusses a systematic approach to automatically prepare a mechatronic design problem for the use of optimization to tune the parameters for optimum dynamics. Since genetic algorithms are used for this optimization, this preparation decodes and encodes proper design variables into design genotypes while taking into consideration the design constraints and physical constitutive laws.

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