Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Abstract or Table of Contents

Abstract: "During preliminary design, designers must evaluate the relative merits of many alternative concepts. Experienced designers are able to reason about basic relationships between the physical structure of alternatives and performance of a device and can therefore eliminate many alternatives without the need for design detailing. Such form-function relations exist for individual components and devices due to basic engineering principles. They can be codified and used as a basis for a structured system able to assist less experienced designers. Because these relationships do not depend on design details, such a system facilitates top-down design and the early evaluation of design alternatives. Basic relations between form and function for individual components can also be aggregated to represent subassemblies, assemblies, devices and so forth. This facilitates modularity in design. The relations can be refined as the design becomes more detailed, providing resolution in evaluation commensurate with the level of design detail."