In this paper, we consider the history of nomograms as a computational tool in mechanical engineering, together with their potential applications for teaching purposes, and summarize the mathematical methods used to derive them. Nomograms are graphical descriptions of a mathematical problem, such that the desired solution may be derived through a simple geometric construction, which usually requires nothing more than a straightedge. This way, a reasonably accurate solution to a complex problem can be quickly obtained even in adverse environmental conditions by low-skilled users; moreover, a nomogram can provide immediate insight on the relationship between the variables. Nomograms date back to the 1800s and have been used by engineers for decades, due to their convenience over manual computation, before computers became widespread. While nomograms have now been largely superseded as engineering tools, our analysis shows that they can still have some applications in workshops and for teaching purposes.
Nomograms: An Old Tool with New Applications / Mottola, G.; Cocconcelli, M.. - 40:(2022), pp. 314-329. (Intervento presentato al convegno 7th International Symposium on History of Machines and Mechanisms, HMM 2022 tenutosi a esp nel 2022) [10.1007/978-3-030-98499-1_26].