Abstract

This paper discusses design resulting from a unique design competition as an indicator of the verification of scientific design principles as given by Shu Nam 1990. A single enactment of the design problem is used as a case study to illustrate different points of this paper. The focus of the paper is on the creative aspect of idea generation and the checking of subsystems as well as the complete system enactment for function and performance. In an annual design competition the same problem was issued to a number of design teams. The number of teams varied from nine to eighteen in different years and two to three designers were in a team. The design was performed by seniors in mechanical engineering. To generate concepts, Osborn’s method of brain storming was applied. The brain storming was done in the groups of two to three designers. It was applied to the entire system and subsequently to subsystems. After the abstract design was accomplished, prototypes were built and tested. A competition was held in which each design group prototype earned a figure of merit score based on its performance in a performance run. The figure of merit formula used to dtetermine the winner of the competition and race course for performance run were given to the designers at the time they were given the design problem statement. The results were verified by an expert evaluation with Mechanical Engineering faculty members serving as experts. Every prototype was competing with others in the same exact conditions. The results of the design competition provide a unique set of data which may be considered an experiment in design technique. Some concluding remarks concerning design methodology are stated.

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