Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Product Models and Virtual Prototypes in Mechanical Engineering



Mike Pratt


This paper gives an overview of some of the modelling and virtual prototyping techniques used in product realization, with emphasis on the mechanical engineering field. It is pointed out that virtual prototypes, in the commonly accepted sense of computer models permitting realistic graphical simulation, represent only one class amongst the many types of computer models used in design and planning for manufacture. Each such model is usually created for some comparatively narrow purpose, and one of the major problems faced by developers of integrated computer-aided product realization systems concerns the transmutation of one type of model into another. A related problem is that of interpretation by any model of information generated by interrogations of another model. These difficulites are compounded by the increasing presence in such models of semantic information concerning different aspects of the intended functionality or manufacturing requirements of the modelled artifact.

NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 5650
Report Number


CAD/CAM, mechanical engineering, models, product realization, virtual prototypes


Pratt, M. (1995), Product Models and Virtual Prototypes in Mechanical Engineering, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created January 1, 1995, Updated November 10, 2018