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Increasing competitiveness in the development and manufacturing of mechanically based products requires ever-increasing design and development cycles, and has stimulated the introduction of many computer-based tools to assist with mechanical design and analysis. Currently, strong emphasis is placed upon the effectiveness of such tools, and on their enhancement through improved usability. A major contribution to improved usability is the level of interactiveness of a tool. FEMvis is a tool that provides capabilities for interactive visualization of mechanical engineering analysis, including rotation, translation, and magnification of images; views of shape deformations, their time-evolution, and their superposition; visualizations of scalar fields in two and three dimensions using colored isolevels; blending of shape deformation images and isolevel images; visualizations of three-dimensional phenomena by moving a slicing plane through the image, showing cross-sectional deformations and isolevels; and visualizations of multiple shape deformations and multiple scalar fields during a single usage session. FEMvis has been implemented in a portable language and a portable graphics package, and can run on a spectrum of hardware platforms from workstations to mainframes. It has been applied to the mechanical analysis of direct-access storage devices (DASD), including stress, strain, modal, and deformation analyses. The interactive nature of FEMvis facilitates iterative design refinement and rapid prototyping.
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