Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 179–189 | Cite as

A taxonomy for mechanical design

  • David G. Ullman


This paper presents a taxonomy that provides a basis for characterizing mechanical design methods and theories. The taxonomy has three primary divisions: the environment, the problem, and the process. Each of these factors is further subdivided into its important characteristics. For example, the process is divided into plan, processing action, effect, and failure action. This paper discusses the options for each characteristic. An overview of the proposed taxonomy is given in section 2 of this paper. Section 3 describes details of the design environment; section 4 gives details on the description of the design problem itself; and section 5 provides details on the design process. In section 6, the taxonomy is applied in two ways: it is first used to clarify the meaning of differing, commonly used design terms, such as selection design, configurational design, parametric design, and redesign; and, second, the taxonomy is used to classify a representative sample of design process research efforts.


Representative Sample Design Process Parametric Design Research Effort Design Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • David G. Ullman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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