Product design is a creative process, often subject to rapid and numerous design change requirements. To facilitate geometric redesign iterations, Parametric Computer-Aided Design CAD) systems were introduced. To manage the numerous product design iterations produced by parametric CAD systems, Product Data Management (PDM) systems were developed to capture, document, and manage each product revision. PDM has proved effective thus far at managing design history. However, PDM is built upon database management systems (DBMS), which have the capability of doing far more than simply managing product revision history. Product data consists not only of the physical geometry used to describe it, but also of a host of non-geometric data. This non-geometric data is referred to as attributes. Examples of attributes include material properties, boundary conditions, finite element mesh information, manufacturing operations, assembly operations, cost, etc. Downstream Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) applications apply attributes to (preprocess) the geometry to perform their respective operations. These attributes are not permanently associated with the geometry and may have to be recreated each time the geometry changes. Preprocessing for highly complex CAE analyses can sometimes require weeks of effort. An attribution method is presented which addresses the creation, storage, and management issues facing attributes in the CAD and CAE environments. The research conducted explores the use of database management systems for defining, instantiating, and managing attributes in the CAD environment. Downstream CAE applications may then retrieve the attributes from the DBMS to automate preprocessing. The attribution system results in standardized attribute definitions, which forms the basis for communicating attributes universally among different downstream CAE applications.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





CAD, attributes, CAE, preprocessing