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Creating a GUI for ThermaKin2D

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Systems
Wordcount: 2382 words Published: 28th Nov 2017

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  • Tamfor Dulin


Graphical user interface are used in OSX, Windows PC, and even on phones and tablets. It is found on almost every technological device used by people from computer programmers to toddlers. GUIs (Graphical User Interface) have been helpful over the years as well as it is going to be for the end product of this project. In general, GUIs simplify the use of an application so that it is user-friendly. Another subject that plays an important role is combustion, which is an exothermic chemical reaction, combustion is required to understand the purpose of this GUI. If it is hot enough the combustion can cause a flame. In this reaction there is a cycle in which the fuel is melted and afterwards burned to fuel the fire. This can be calculated to acquire an ideal set of numbers that represent the flame but no one would understand such data and this is where the GUI comes into place. In this project, a GUI will be created for a solver that can calculate the flame spread, the data calculated will be manipulated and visualized by the GUI, and this will be able to help understand the results of the solver into a visual depiction.

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GUI (Graphical User Interface) is defined as, in computer science terms based on Harding, “a visual operating display that the monitor presents on the monitor to the computer operator” (Jansen, “The Graphical User Interface.”). GUIs act as mediator between the program and the user. GUIs are useful in technological devices in that they make understanding apps easy. GUIs are advantageous and increase usability as well as productivity rate.

It is a type of computer human interface on a computer that includes clickable inputs, a combination of icons, taskbars and other images so that a computer will be able to display these interfaces. This is more commonly known as a Window, Icons, Menus, and a Pointer (WIMP)(Hinckley, “Haptic Issues for Virtual Manipulation”). WIMP are now found in the majority of graphical interface. GUIs also are composed of a windowing system, an imaging model, and an application program interface (API). The WIMP is created by the windowing system. The imaging models determines the font and the image and partially produces the WIMP. Lastly, the API is the medium which the user tell the program on how the windows will appear (Jansen, “The Graphical User Interface.”).

GUIs have simplified the complicated Command Line Interface (CLI) which has a steep learning curve. It also, “attempt to solve this blank screen problem.” (Jansen, “The Graphical User Interface.”) This blank screen is caused by command lines and DOS (Disk Operating System) prompts which are interfaces in which the user types commands to execute certain tasks and are limited with only prompts. CLI and DOS prompts tend to have blank screen and the user is expected to know what to do to proceed with the process. Unlike command lines and DOS prompts, the GUI guides the user to know what to do next, with prompts and indications. Unfortunately, GUIs are not as flexible and as powerful to control an application.

GUIs have been used for more than 30 years. It all started out with the multiple researchers at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), they created the first application with a GUI (Jansen, “The Graphical User Interface.”). The researchers were dedicated to creating the GUI before they started with application itself. This application was name Xerox Star, unfortunately it was too slow and commercially unsuccessful. After the Xerox Star came Apple Lisa made by Steve Jobs and some hired researchers who previously created the Xerox Star. The Apple Lisa was still unsuccessful and this is when the Apple Macintosh finally was created (Jansen, “The Graphical User Interface.”). As it is still known and used today, the Apple macintosh’s GUI was successful.

After the success of Apple Macintosh many other common and modern GUI started to sprout. From the old International Business Machine (IBM) to X-Windowing System which developed to be now windows 7 or 8. Other than those GUIs, there was Linux (Operating system), UNIX (Uniplexed Information and Computer Science) and other Linux-based and UNIX-based operating system which come into place like android and iOS, respectively.

Knowledge of a flame spread is vital. Combustion is a chemical reaction that releases heat or energy with a fuel and an oxidant, in most cases oxygen is the oxidant. Through this reaction, a fire is formed which in turn makes a flame, the visible part of combustion. Flames have complex, hard to predict movement because of the particular substance that is being burned.

To predict the flame spread, is one of the most complicated fire problems. Flame depends on the substance being burned and all its attributes which differ through each substance. The size, density, mass, shape, porosity, and if there are impurities cause the flame to react differently. This flame cannot not be easily predicted because if there was to be an experimental prediction, it would not have been accurate since the substance could have been slightly impure or any miscalculations. To have accurate measures it would have to be simulated in an ideal situation. Since flame spread is random and cause by unknown situations or situation caused by human error, it will easily be identified through simulations which would require chemical and physical properties to calculate how the flame would spread.

To easily predict flame spread through simulations, ThermaKin2D will be used. It was created by the University of Maryland and Federal Aviation Administration. This solver is able to solve the rate of fuel production, heat transfer rate, fuel burn rate, and flame spread rate in a given amount of time by using the physical and chemical properties of the thermochemical decomposing solid (Stoliarov, Levention, and Lyon, 1). The reason why this program was created was to be able to predict and understand flame growth through models (1). The understanding of the calculation and chemical activity is crucial for predictions.

Previously, there was a program called ThermaKin that would calculate the rate at which a pyrolyzing solid will burn, the fuel released during the process, changing mass, and energy conservation (1). The only problem with the ThermaKin was that it was mainly 1-Dimensional which means that it did not greatly represent a surface flame and it was limited since it could not simulate a flame spread. Using the data yielded from ThermaKin2D, one is able to make a 2D simulation of the data. ThermaKin2D is similar to ThermaKin but in a 2D perspective and an adaptable representation of a surface flame (1).

This 2D visualization enhances the comprehension of the data being shown and it is a highly accurate depictions of a flame. It is greatly flexible and can handle up to chemical activity of up to 30 first and second order reactions (Levention, “Two-dimensional Model of Burning for Pyrolyzable Solids”).

Each component is classified by density, heat capacity, thermal conductivity, gas transfer coefficient, emissivity, and absorption coefficient ((Stoliarov, Levention, and Lyon, 1). It has been used in simulation of combusting non-charring and charring polymers in a cone calorimetry-type scenario. (1)

The main features that separates ThermaKin2D from other solvers are “a gas solid interaction formulation that enables gas driven sample simulations.” Also is it a “Monte Carlo based radiative heat transfer sub model” and “a versatile kinetics solver that can handle chemical mechanism consisting of up to 30 first and second order reactions.” Its boundary condition is broad and it is able to handle most situations provided that you have the chemical and physical property. ( Leventon, Two-dimensional Model of Burning for Pyrolyzable Solids)

Additionally, the purpose of ThermaKin was to have a model of thermochemical decomposition and combustion of complex polymers (Stoliarov, Levention, and Lyon, 1).

Just as ThermaKin was for industrial, educational, facility, and personal uses, once a GUI has been created for ThermaKin2D, it will be used for the same purpose and more and be accessible to more people. Such example of the uses would be to create a model for combustion, as well as a pyrolysis model in 2D. Another example would be visualizing 2D simulation of a substance burning with the reactions and outcomes. With all these possibilities one may be able to test different substances with mixtures. This enables one to identify which substance is more flammable or is less conductive. Another example could be determining the rate at which fuel is produced which can be used in making candles. ThermaKin2D can be used in multiple ways but, without the GUI, many people would not be able to use it and reducing the rate at which ones house is burning would not have been easily accomplished.

ThermaKin2D will need a graphical user interface because without it, it will be used by a small population or be complex to use in that you would have to remember each and every command. But the purpose of ThermaKin2D was for it to be used by anyone who need to study the flame on a substance. Also the GUI will be needed to convert the numerical data into graphs and simulations. In this case it will give the previously measured data to the solver and the solver will yield data needed to simulate and visualize. ThermaKin2D will require a GUI because currently it is in a command line interface which is arcane. It has a blank screen and a prompt which only few will be able to understand and indications will be required to know what to do when the program starts. The program will need a graphical interface for inputting the information so that the user will know when and where to place the information they need to give. Without the GUI, inputting and receiving data will be confusing, with a lot of numerical data and no images to easily identify what is going on in the calculations. Unfortunately the failure or success of the product is dependent on the GUI. Having a good GUI is important so that the user will not be frustrated. Also, it is not easy to tell if the GUI is easy and efficient.

Overall ThermaKin2D is based on ThermaKin in which it will calculate the rate of fuel production of a thermally decomposing solid. In this project as previously mentioned, A GUI will be created for ThermaKin2D created by University of Maryland since it is now available in a command line interface and it is arcane, only the creators are the one to understand. In creating this GUI, it will help explain the useful purpose of GUI which make the application less complicated and not have someone take an aspirin after using an application. A good GUI design eliminates the complexity of the communication with the computer system and the user to work directly on the problem at hand. Without this GUI only a few people will be able to use this ThermaKin2D and will not help the society as a whole.

Works Cited

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Jansen, Bernard J. “The Graphical User Interface.” ACM SIGCHI Bulletin 30.2 (1998): 22-26. Print.

Leventon I. T.; Stoliarov S. I.; Evolution of Flame to Surface Heat Flux during Upward Flame Spread on Poly(methyl methacrylate); Proceedings of the Combustion Institute; vol. 34, pp. 2523-2530 (2013).

Levy, Jr. Steven. “Graphical User Interface (GUI) (computing).”Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

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Stoliarov, Stanislav I., Isaac T. Levention, and Richard E. Lyon. TWO-DIMENSIONAL MODEL OF BURNING FOR PYROLYZABLE SOLIDS. Tech. no. DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/59. U.S. Department of Transportation, Mar. 2013. Web. 25 July 2014.

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