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A Functional Basis for Engineering Design: Reconciling and Evolving Previous Efforts

By Julie Hirtz, Robert B. Stone, Simon Szykman, Daniel A. McAdams and Kristin L. Wood


In engineering design, all products and artifacts have some intended reason behind their existence: the product or artifact function. Functional modeling provides an abstract, yet direct, method for understanding and representing an overall product or artifact function. Functional modeling also strategically guides design activities such as problem decomposition, physical modeling, product architecting, concept generation, and team organization. A formal function representation is needed to support functional modeling, and a standardized set of functionrelated terminology leads to repeatable and meaningful results from such a representation. We refer to this representation as a functional basis; in this paper, we seek to reconcile and integrate two independent research efforts into a significantly evolved functional basis. These efforts include research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and two U.S. universities, and their industrial partners. The overall approach for integrating the functional representations and the final results are presented. This approach also provides a mechanism for evaluating if future revisions are needed to the functional basis and, if so, how to proceed. The integration process is discussed relative to differences, similarities, insights into the representations, and product validation. Based on the results, a more versatile an

Topics: Functional modeling, product representation, design languages, classification schemes. 1 Intr
Year: 2009
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