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What is Design?

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  1. What is Design?

  2. Engineering design is the communication of a set of rational decisions obtained with creative problem solving for accomplishing certain stated objectives within prescribed constraints. (E. Lumsdaine et al. ASEE 1999, Session 2225, ref EEL 013)

  3. Engineering design is the systematic, intelligent generation and evaluation of specifications for artifacts whose form and function achieve stated objectives and satisfy specified constraints. (Dym & Little, Engineering Design: A Project-Based Introduction p. 8)

  4. Engineering design is the organized, thoughtful development and testing of characteristics of new objects that have a particular configuration or perform some desired function(s) that meets our aims without violating any specified limitations. (Dym & Little, ibid p. 9)

  5. The purpose of design is to derive from a set of specifications a description of an artifact sufficient for its realization. Feasible designs not only satisfy the specifications, but take into account other constraints in the design problem arising from the medium in which the design is to be executed (e.g. the strength and properties of materials), the physical environment in which the design is to be operated (e.g. kinematic and static laws of equilibrium) and from such factors as the cost and the capabilities of the manufacturing technology available. (Dym & Little, ibid p. 18)

  6. What design problems have in common is that they set a goal, some constraints within which the goal must be achieved, and some criteria by which a successful solution might be recognized. (Cross, p. 10)

  7. Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation. The engineering design component of a curriculum must include most of the following features: development of student creativity, use of open-ended problems, development and use of modern design theory and methodology, formulation of design problem statements and specifications, consideration of alternative solutions, feasibility considerations, production processes, concurrent engineering design, and detailed system descriptions. Further it is essential to include a variety of realistic constraints such as economic factors, safety, reliability, aesthetics, ethics, and social impact. (ABET I.C.3.d.3.c. 1999 and earlier)

  8. What is the Nature of the Design Process? • There is no definitive formulation of the problem. • Any problem formulation may embody inconsistencies. • Formulations of the problem are solution-dependent. • Proposing solutions is a means of understanding the problem. • There is no definitive solution to the problem. Cross, p. 12