You're working on an engineering design problem and would like to see how you can leverage Excel to find an optimum design solution.
Model your design problem in Excel as an optimization problem and then use Solver to find a solution.
It is rather straightforward to model many different engineering design problems in Excel. Many engineers do so on a daily basis. Moreover, once you have a model set up in Excel, it's a small step to use Solver to optimize that model. Take a look at the spreadsheet in Figure 13-12.
Figure 13-12. Engineering design optimization example
This spreadsheet represents a typical structural engineering design task. I don't want to go too far describing all the structural engineering background relevant to this problem; but I'll give you an overview so you can get the gist of what we're trying to optimize. Basically, this is a model of a stiffened panel. A stiffened panel is comprised of a plate with beams attached to it to provide strength and rigidity. In this case, the panel is comprised of an aluminum plate, 150 cm long and 100 cm wide, supported all around its edges. The plate also has attached to it a number of T-type stiffeners. Figure 13-13 illustrates this sort of panel.
Figure 13-13. Stiffened ...