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Variations in functional decomposition for an existing product: experimental results

Eckert, Claudia; Ruckpaul, Anne; Alink, Thomas and Albers, Albert (2012). Variations in functional decomposition for an existing product: experimental results. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 26(2) pp. 107–128.


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This paper describes the findings of an experiment on how different engineers understand notions of function and functional breakdown in the context of design by modification. The experiment was conducted with a homogenous group of 20 design engineers, who had all received the same education. The subjects were asked to analyze how a hydraulic pump works and summarize their understanding in a function tree. The subjects were given either the hydraulic pump itself (with part of its casing removed) or a maintenance drawing that showed a section cut of the pump. This paper shows typical outputs of the designers. It discusses the different notions of function that the subjects had and the differences in the function trees they generated. The paper focuses an eight detailed analyses to show the range of approaches the subjects took.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1469-1760
Extra Information: May 2012 - Volume 26, Special Issue 02 (Design Computing and Cognition (DCC'10)
Keywords: function analysis; individual differences; protocol analysis
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Design and Innovation
Item ID: 34196
Depositing User: Claudia Eckert
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2012 08:52
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 13:03
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