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Designing Engineers: An Introductory Text



Designing Engineers: An Introductory Text

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Designing Engineers First Edition is written in short modules, where each module is built around a specific learning outcome and is cross-referenced to the other modules that should be read as pre-requisites, and could be read in tandem with or following that module. The book begins with a brief orientation to the design process, followed by coverage of the design process in a series of short modules. The rest of the book contains a set of modules organized in several major categories: Communication & Critical Thinking, Teamwork & Project Management, and Design for Specific Factors (e.g. environmental, human factors, intellectual property). A resource section provides brief reference material on economics, failure and risk, probability and statistics, principles & problem solving, and estimation.

Related Resources

Preface v

Part 1 How Engineers Design 0

Introduction 1

Design Process Overview 5

Project Phases 10

Communicating throughout the Process 14

What Engineers Design 18

How Engineering Projects Are Initiated 22

Navigating the Engineering Design Process 27

Engineering School Projects 32

Part 2 Design Process 34


Introduction to Requirements 35

Functions 43

Objectives 50

Constraints 56

Documenting the Context 61

Describing Stakeholders 69

Describing Users, Operators, and Clients 76

Characteristics of Good Requirements 83

Summary: Putting It All Together 92

Functional Basis 96

Multi-use Design Tools

Black Box Method 101

Decomposition 104

Information Gathering 108

Benchmarking 115

Pairwise Comparison 122

Idea Generation

Introduction to Idea Generation 125

Brainstorming 128

Creativity Methods 134

Morphological Charts, Analogy, and TRIZ 140


Design Evaluation and Selection 144

Selecting a Design Solutiona 150

Decision Methods for Teams 160


Stages in Iteration: Generate, Select, Reflect 163

Suggested Iteration Process 167

Reflection Considerations for Iteration 173

Investigating Ideas

Using Metrics 177

Investigating Ideas through Models and Prototypes 180

Feasibility Checking 185

Routine Design 189

Post-Conceptual Design

Intermediate Design 194

Final Design 202

Post-Final Design Engineering 213

Part 3 Implementing a Project 218

Working in Teams

Introduction to Teamwork 219

Organizing 225

Tools for Organizing 230

Producing 237

Managing Teams 240

Management Strategies 247

Sample Team Documents 253

Project Management

Introduction to Project Management 261

Project Management Concepts 267

Creating a Project Plan 273

Estimating Cost and Time 279

Project Cycle (see

Monitoring a Project (see

Project Analysis (see

Advanced Tools and Methods (see

Personal Management (see

MS Project Instructions 284

Client Interaction

Client Meetings (see

Asking Questions and Listening (see

Critical Thinking

Basic Concepts 293

Critical Thinking in Design Documents 300

Making and Supporting Statements Effectively 306

Skeptical Thinking 313


Engineering Communication 318

Organizing Communication 323

Putting Together an Engineering Report (see

Diagrammatic Elements 330

Using Pictures and Photographs 339

Influencers of Communication 344

Organizing Presentations 349

Effective Slides 354

Part 4 Design for X 360


Design for Durability 361

The Environment

Design for the Environment: Introduction 365

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 369

LCA Goal Definition and Scoping 375

LCA Inventory Analysis 382

LCA Impact and Improvement 388

Sustainability 396


Design for Flexibility: Introduction 401

Managing Flexibility 408

Human Factors

Design for Human Factors: Introduction 413

Task Analysis 420

Use Case Method 426

Concept of Operations 433

Intellectual Property

Design for Intellectual Property: Introduction 438

Principles of Patentability 444

Intellectual Property in the Design Process 449

Frisbee Patents 454


Design for Manufacture: Introduction 460

Manufacturing Process Choices 468


Design for Safety: Introduction 475

Identifying Hazards 481

Safety in the Design Process 486

Workplace Safety 495

Testing & Maintenance

Design for Testing and Maintenance (see

Part 5 Resources 498

Principles and Problem Solving

Problem Spectrum: Open, Constrained, and Closed (see

Solving Closed Problems (see

Writing up a Problem Solution (see

Significant Figures (see

Conservation of Mass and Energy (see


Introduction to Estimation 499

Estimation Techniques 504

Estimating Cost and Labor 515

Estimation Confidence 518

Probability & Statistics

Introduction to Probability and Statistics (see

Discrete Distributions (see

Continuous Distributions (see

Fitting a Line (see

Uses (see


Introduction to Economics 523

Time and Money Calculations 528

Project Decisions 532

Types of Costs and Revenues 540

Payback 546

Failure & Risk

Introduction to Failure and Risk 550

Handling Risk 555

Why Things Fail 563

Part 6 Case Studies 570

Aerial Photography 571

The Razor Sole Skate (see

A Video Titler for Sewer Inspection (see

The Steam Whistle Brewery (see

Selling Flowers (see

Sample Design Briefs (see

Historic Design Failures (see

Glossary 577

Index 601

  • Modular – the text is written as a set of discrete modules that can be taught in virtually any selection and order.
  • Multidisciplinary – the text roots design concepts in a disciplinary context, enabling students to see how design tasks and roles play out in realistic scenarios.
  • Designed for Digital Reading – modules are very brief, thoroughly cross-reference and linked to related topics. Hashtags in the digital edition provide a quick mode of linking and cross-referencing.
  • Expert Author Team - The team of authors of Designing Engineers practice the concepts and process of design as outlined in their text.
    • Susan McCahan is vice-dean ofFaculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto;
    • Peter Weiss is Communication Coordinator of Engineering Strategies and Practice, University of Toronto;
    • Phil Anderson is Senior Lecturer of Computer Engineering, University of Toronto;
    • Mark Kortschot is Chair of the Division of Engineering Science, University of Toronto; and
    • Kimberly A. Woodhouse is Dean of the Applied Science and Engineering Department, Queen’s University.