Saturday, April 21, 2018

What Every Engineer Should Know About EXCEL By Phillip A. Laplante

What Every Engineer Should Know About EXCEL By Phillip A. Laplante
This collection of materials involving operations in Microsoft Excel is intended primarily for engineers, although many of the displays and topics will be of interest to other readers as well. The procedures have been generated somewhat randomly as individual segments, which were distributed to classes as the need arose. They do not take the place of the many excellent books on the subjects of numerical methods, statistics, engineering anal ysis, or the information that is available through the Help/Index features of the software packages. Some of the suggestions offered herein will be obvious  to an experienced user of the software but much less apparent or even eye-opening to others. It is this latter group for whom the collection was assembled. Some of the materials were written for use in classes in engineering laboratory and heat transfer subjects, so several of the examples are tainted in the direction of these applications. Even so, topics such as solutions to simultaneous linear and nonlinear equations and uses of graphing techniques are pervasive and easily extended to other applications. The reader will notice that a basic familiarity with spreadsheets, the formats for entering equations, and a basic knowledge of graphs is assumed. A basic acquaintance with Microsoft Word is also expected, including simple editing operations. The Table of Contents furnishes a fairly straightforward guide for selecting topics from the book. It must be noted that the topics are presented as stand-alone items in many cases, which do not necessarily depend on previous sections. Where previous topics are relevant they are noted in that section. The reader will find that some topics are repeated  such as instructions for formatting graphs and charts — where it was judged beneficial. In Chapter 1 the convention employed for sequential sets of operations is noted along with the background expected of the reader. The user will find the suggested custom keyboard setup in Section 2.3 to be very useful for typing equations and math symbols. While possibly of infrequent use, the application of photo inserts is discussed in Section 2.9. Increased use of scanners and digital cameras may add to the utility of these sections. Most engineering graphs are of the x-y scatter variety, and the combination of the information presented at Section 3.3 and suggested default settings at Section 3.22 should be quite helpful in application of these graphs. Most people do not think of using Excel to generate line drawings. The discussion in Section 4.2 illustrates the relative simplicity of making such drawings and embedding them in Excel and Word documents. Section
4.3 and Section 4.5 illustrate methods for inserting and combining symbols, equations, and graphics in both Excel and Word. Chapter 5 presents methods for solving single or simultaneous sets of linear or nonlinear equations. Section 5.4 presents an iterative method that is particularly useful for solving linear nodal equations in applications with sparse coefficient matrices. Histograms, cumu lative frequency distributions, and normal probability functions are discussed in Chapter 6 along with several regression methods. Three regression techniques are applied to an example that analyzes the performance of a commercial air-conditioning unit. Because financial analysis is frequently a part of engineering design, Chapter 7 presents an abbreviated view of the built-in Excel financial functions. Several examples of the use of these functions are also given. Optimization techniques are also a part of engineering design, so Chapter 8 gives a brief view of the use of the Solver feature of Excel for analyzing such problems.
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