Conceptual design of multi-domain systems: products and materials
Dietz, Timothy Paul
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A key challenge facing designers creating innovative products is concept generation. Conceptual design is more effective when the design space is broadened by using an integrated design of product and material concepts approach. Conceptual design can also be accelerated by including problem solving and solution triggering tools in its structure. In this approach, structured analogy is used to transfer underlying principles from a solution suitable in one domain (i.e., product or mechanical domain) to an analogous solution in another domain (i.e., material domain). The nature of design analogy does not require as full of an exploration of the target domain as would otherwise be necessary; affording the possibility of a more rapid development. The addition of problem solving and solution triggering tools to a design method also decreases the design time and/or improves the quality of the final solution. This approach is formulated through a combination of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) proposed by Altshuller, and the systematic approach of Pahl and Beitz, for products that are jointly considered at the product and material level. These types of problems are ones where customer performance requirements are fulfilled through both the designed product and the designed material. The systematic approach of Pahl and Beitz is used as the base method through which TRIZ is used as a means of transferring abstract information about the design problem between the domains with the aim of accelerating conceptual design. This also allows for multi-domain design tools such as Su-Field-Model integration with design repositories for the transfer of information at different levels of abstraction; expanding the design space and effectively directing the designer. The explanation of this approach is presented through a simple example of a spring design improvement and validated through concept generation of a reactive material containment system.
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