In the past decade, sophisticated mathematical, statistical and graphical routines have been added to spreadsheet packages, thus converting them to serious analytical tools. The engineering community has adopted these packages to perform various sensitivity analyses on design problems which lend themselves to these types of applications. Design engineers can now rapidly and conveniently utilize these tools to perform a wide variety of analyses on design problems having simple geometries and loading conditions, without having to develop any FORTRAN, Basic or C code.

This paper is concerned with the applications of spreadsheet packages in the area of steady and transient thermal analysis, design optimization and solution of initial-value differential equations. Lotus 1-2-3 in conjunction with the explicit finite difference method (Gauss-Seidel method) has been used to predict transient temperature distribution in an axi-symmetric model of the barrel of a handgun. Borland International Quattro Pro spreadsheet program along with Runge-Kutta and Newmark numerical integration techniques have been employed to optimally design the recoil system of a handgun. Also, the use of Quattro Pro for constructing the contour plots of temperature in a Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) chip and the IBM 3081 TCM cold plate are demonstrated. Finally, the built-in Error and Bessel functions in Microsoft Excel have been used to find temperature distribution in a semi-infinite and cylindrical objects.

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