Abstract

In this paper I analyze the use of different models of functional decomposition in engineering design. I consider models that refer to sets of desired behavior-functions, to sets of desired effect-functions, and ones that refer to sets of purposefunctions. It is argued that the choice for a particular model is affected by whether or not its construction will be based on known function-structure connections for the functions in the model or on known behavior-structure relations that implement the functions in the model. It is then argued that whether or not such knowledge is taken into account is affected by specific design objectives. Finally, I thus argue that the choice for and suitability of particular models of functional decomposition depends on the design objectives for which these models are employed. Based on this result, it is concluded that the co-existence of different functional decomposition-models has engineering value, defining the remaining task to relate them. To this end, a strategy is proposed for relating different models. The above analysis is focused on three approaches that advance particular models of functional decomposition: the Functional Basis approach in which models refer to sets of desired behavior-functions, the Functional Interpretation Language approach in which models refer to sets of desired effect-functions, and the Dual Stage approach in which models refer to sets of purpose-functions.

Keywords:

Functional Decomposition-Model, Design Objective, Design Knowledge

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Explaining and Relating Different Engineering Models of Functional Decomposition

In this paper I analyze the use of different models of functional decomposition in engineering design. I consider models that refer to sets of desired behavior-functions, to sets of desired effect-functions, and ones that refer to sets of purposefunctions. It is argued that the choice for a particular model is affected by whether or not its construction will be based on known function-structure connections for the functions in the model or on known behavior-structure relations that implement the functions in the model. It is then argued that whether or not such knowledge is taken into account is affected by specific design objectives. Finally, I thus argue that the choice for and suitability of particular models of functional decomposition depends on the design objectives for which these models are employed. Based on this result, it is concluded that the co-existence of different functional decomposition-models has engineering value, defining the remaining task to relate them. To this end, a strategy is proposed for relating different models. The above analysis is focused on three approaches that advance particular models of functional decomposition: the Functional Basis approach in which models refer to sets of desired behavior-functions, the Functional Interpretation Language approach in which models refer to sets of desired effect-functions, and the Dual Stage approach in which models refer to sets of purpose-functions.

 

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