Title

Significance of design context and rationale in long term retention of data

Semester

Fall

Date of Graduation

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

MS

College

Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Victor H. Mucino.

Abstract

Mechanical Engineering Design is said to be both; science and art. In the process of designing mechanical systems or components, decisions are typically made to conceptualize, synthesize, and ultimately define the final configuration of a mechanical system or component, through an iterative process that involves design, analysis, performance assessment and experimental validation tasks. In the process, a plethora of engineering methods, analytical tools and technical data are used to yield a final design. Typically, the final design is documented, but in most cases, much (if not all) rationale that led to the final configuration is left undocumented and eventually lost. While CAD tools can effectively capture geometries and selected system features, engineering context remains elusive, and for the most part resides only in the minds of the original designers. In this project, the concept of a design Taxonomy is explored to capture the engineering context associated with a mechanical systems design. With this taxonomy, engineering scenarios ranging from design-from-scratch (Technology Development) to system replacement (Troubleshooting), Subsystem replacement, and adaptation (Design Evolution) can be captured so that the engineering context can be documented. In the process, ISO 10303 (STEP) application protocols are explored as the mechanism to capture relevant information related to the engineering tasks and data transactions amongst these tasks for future reference and long term retention.;Design of a Cryogenic Pressure Vessel is used as a case study to understand the process of design, the flow of information, and the role of context in the design of a product. Using structured reflection for the abstraction of knowledge, an attempt is made to create context for the case study.;The use of IDEF 0 guidelines and tools is demonstrated in the development of activity models, and as a means to evaluate STEP protocols, the current usage, and their applicability in the industry. These activity models are used to develop information-context charts and evaluated as a tool for reuse of design data.

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