Mann, Robert W. Formerly, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Electrical schematic
- Mechanical schematic
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Concise, graphical symbolism whereby the engineer communicates to others the functional relationship of the parts in a component and, in turn, of the components in a system. The symbols do not attempt to describe in complete detail the characteristics or physical form of the elements, but they do suggest the functional form which the ensemble of elements will take in satisfying the functional requirements of the component. They are different from a block diagram in that schematics describe more specifically the physical process by which the functional specifications of a block diagram are satisfied. Rather than expressing a mathematical relationship between, for example, an input and an output variable as in a block diagram, a schematic illustrates the physical principles and techniques by which the mathematical requirements of the element are realized. For instance, the schematic indicates whether electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, or pneumatic techniques are employed, and suitable symbols indicate the appropriate elements, such as batteries, resistors, valves, gearing, vacuum tubes, and motors.
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