Material and processes selection in conceptual design
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Materials and manufacturing processes are an integral part of the design of a product. The need to combine materials and manufacturing processes selection during the early stages of the design has previously been realized. The work that generally attracts the most attention is by M.F. Ashby. This methodology, like others, concentrates on materials and manufacturing processes selection after the conceptual design is completed and before moving into embodiment design. The disadvantage of waiting until the conceptual design is completed to address materials and manufacturing processes is that the designer cannot search for conceptual solutions when dealing with issues relating to the materials and manufacturing processes domains. By not considering these issues early on in the design process, the scope for innovation is reduced and this results in the designer being fixated on the configuration at hand. It is well recognized that this is not the best way to address a design challenge and an even worse approach to innovation. The basic framework for which enhancements and improvements are suggested is the design methodology practiced and taught by the members of the Institute for Innovation and Design in Engineering (IIDE) at Texas A&M University. Conceptual design is very much a part of the IIDE design process; but the current format concentrates on functional parameters and how to search for conceptual solutions for these, and does not highlight materials and manufacturing issues in the preliminary design stages where it could be most helpful. The work documented in this thesis is an attempt to ensure that there is no disconnect between function oriented design and the materials and manufacturing processes that are applicable to that design. The core of the thesis is to incorporate a thought process which will help the designer during conceptual design phase to: 1. Consciously question if there materials and manufacturing issues; 2. Identify critical parameters in both of these domains; and 3. Search for conceptual solutions to these identified critical parameters.
Krishnakumar, Karthikeyan (2003). Material and processes selection in conceptual design. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from