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Concept Exploration Through Morphological Charts: An Experimental Study

[+] Author Affiliations
Gregory Smith, Timothy J. Troy, Joshua D. Summers

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DETC2006-99659, pp. 495-504; 10 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4a: 18th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4258-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Morphological charts are a tool for listing possible integrated conceptual design solutions. They concisely store information by listing each design function and conceptual means to perform these functions. This paper proposes that there is a relationship between the number of possible integrated conceptual design solutions in a morphological chart, and the perceived quality of the design solutions which a designer can find in the data summarized in the chart. A user study employing a group of undergraduate mechanical engineering students to investigate two similar morphological charts is described below. Both charts were artificially constrained to have the same total number concept cells (function means). One chart contained five functions and three means for each function representing 243 combined solutions. The second chart contained three functions and five means for each function, thus representing a total of 125 combinations. Results indicate that the second chart, with fewer functions and more means per function, aided the students in producing higher quality integrated conceptual design solutions.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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