Abstract

Constraint management integration into the conceptual design phase is a key step towards a future support tool for engineering design. The use of graph theory in constraint management, where the design models are presented as constraints between the design parameters, provides a means for the automation of the solution path of the conceptual design equations. The generation of a solution path simplifies the study of the couplings between design parameters and the subsequent sensitivity analysis. Based on the so-called relevance list of the constraints, the approach is even applicable in design cases, where an explicit mathematical model of the constraints is not available or known.

The paper presents a constraint management system currently under implementation. As an extension to previous works, the symbolic processing capabilities of Maple V are used along the solution path to generate a C-code of the known constraint equations to further ease the design space exploration and subsequent design optimization efforts. Some theoretical and practical problems associated with the management of analytical constraints and the information flow in the different processing stages are described and discussed using a simplified design example.

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