Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Summers, Joshua D

Committee Member

Ziegert , John C

Abstract

A morphological chart is an ideation tool that represents a large qualitative design space. Currently, morphological charts use a function list to as the function representation of the design problem. Using the morphological chart means (solutions) that can perform each function are generated. Combining one means from each function produces an integrated conceptual design solution. By repeating this process with all possible combination contained in the morphological chart, a long list of conceptual design solutions will be generated, although not all will be practical. This long list of potential design solutions is difficult to analyze and there are limited systematic design tools or guidelines to aid in identifying high quality solutions. A systematic study of the introduction of a new function representation, function structures, into morphological charts is explored in this thesis with the intent of developing guidelines which will aid designers in identifying high quality concepts. An experiment is conducted to determine the quality of design concepts generated from morphological charts using two different function representations (function lists and function structures). The findings from this experiment suggest that the quality of means generated in a morphological chart is not dependent on the function representation but that the potential for creating higher quality concepts when using function structures exists.

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