Original Papers

Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 216-228

First online:

Life-cycle modeling for adaptive and variant design. Part 1: Methodology

  • Peder FitchAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington
  • , Joyce Smith CooperAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington Email author 

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Life-cycle modeling for design (LCMD) is a methodology for assessing the life-cycle impacts for a complex product with many individual components starting from initial design phases when few design specifications have been made. The methodology combines life-cycle assessment (LCA) with probabilistic design methods in a way that forecasts attributes of possible final designs yet reduces information needs. Specifically, LCMD is a methodology for generating arrays of design scenarios that communicate the range of designs being considered by a design team, and estimating missing data for those design scenarios. The main contribution to enhancing standard LCA is the incorporation of methods to estimate physical attributes of individual components for various design options and in four analyses for evaluating the arrays of design scenarios. An automotive case study presented in part 2 of this work demonstrates one application of LCMD.


Life-cycle assessment Adaptive design Variant design Probabilistic design