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Re: Non Professionals doing Engineering

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How do you check the results to make sure they conform to basic principles?

To check the results you must have something to measure them against.  No
matter how "simplified" an approximate analysis you perform, you must still
compare the results to expectations.

I don't believe that Phil's original intent was for you to know the specific
and final result before using the computer, but rather that you have an
expectation of the realm where-in your results should be. Performing a
couple of simplified model upper and lower bound checks before analyzing a
complex problem can at least provide an envelope of expectation for
comparison purposes.