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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Representing the Complexity of Engineering Systems: A Multidisciplinary Perceptual Approach

Jonathan R. A. Maier
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Matt Motyka
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Georges M. Fadel
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

     Full text: PDF
     Last modified: May 29, 2006

Current design representation methods primarily focus on geometric data and rarely incorporate functional information. This research expands upon existing techniques, to further enable designers to visualize the complex component to component interactions that are not always easily identified, but are none the less crucial to successful design. A review of representation methods in other scientific and mathematic fields highlights the need for uniformly integrating data from multiple disciplines. Primary consideration is also given to the limitations of human perception. These principles are applied to ensure that the new representation scheme will be useful to designers in practice. The scheme introduced incorporates the representation of several functions/ phenomena within the device, as well as a qualitative measure of their significance. Also depicted are the relationships between the components of the system, and to other external systems. Each relationship is assigned a relative strength and the direction of influence is indicated. Components that make physical contact with one another are also separately denoted. The representation scheme can be linked to geometric data through CAD files and is divided into sub-levels, each depicting the details of an individual function / phenomenon type, and one additional level for the external relationships. The representation scheme is applied to the front disc brake of a motorcycle as a case study.

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