Matlab helps build structural models

Airframe designers at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems in Mesa, Ariz., had a problem with their new aircraft made of composite laminate materials. The new breed of helicopters were light and durable, but composites do not reveal damage as obviously as metal does.

Jan 1st, 1997
Th Mae72080 6

Airframe designers at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems in Mesa, Ariz., had a problem with their new aircraft made of composite laminate materials. The new breed of helicopters were light and durable, but composites do not reveal damage as obviously as metal does.

Bombarding the aircraft with ultrasonic pulses to uncover hidden damage appeared to be the answer, but the resulting data took thousands of man-hours to analyze accurately. The answer was Matlab, a mathematical software tool from The MathWorks Inc. in Natick, Mass., for implementing mathematical models in one open environment.

McDonnell Douglas engineer Dietrick Schuschel wanted to automate data analysis with a neural network, but found that "the number of connections in our system make it very difficult to construct. Unless you have something like Matlab to implement them, you probably are not going to try."

The MathWorks will release Matlab version 5 Jan. 6, which exports Matlab code to traditional programming languages such as C and C++, features a full editor and debugger, and enhanced graphics. - J.K.

For more information, phone The MathWorks at 508-647-7000, fax 508-647-7001, or e-mail at info@mathworks.com.

Click here to enlarge image

Sanders engineers who are designing a laser range finder are using field programmable gate arrays from QuickLogic because the devices are fast and easy to use.

More in Home