The means to obtain and manage design information is a critical factor that decides the performance of product development processes. Designers use both virtual and physical models to design high quality products. Relatively, virtual models are flexible and require less time and cost, and physical models more accurately reflect physical phenomena.
Correlation between physical models and products is difficult, except for situations in which the Buckingham Π theorem holds. We developed the empirical similarity method for situations not handled by the Π theorem. The empirical similarity method for products composed of a single material has been described previously. In this paper, we extend the empirical similarity method to predict behaviors of products composed of multiple materials. Through the extended method, one can perform system-level functional testing with prototypes.
Numerical and experimental examples are provided for illustration and validation purposes. The examples demonstrate the feasibility of the empirical similarity method to correlate systems with distinct configurations, and clarify expected industrial benefits.