Representation of Conceptual Mechanical Design Knowledge

  • Albert Esterline
  • Megan Arnold
  • Donald R. Riley
  • Arthur G. Erdman


Conceptual design is typically not well represented by traditional engineering mathematics. This work is concerned with eliciting and representing the knowledge used in the conceptual stage of mechanism design. This is the first stage of design, and, along with formulating the problem, establishes a function structure and selects processes and geometries for components realizing the functions. A formally based representation is developed that reveals conceptual connections and explicates terms and their valid patterns of use. The formalisms are largely adopted from theoretical computer science. Two knowledge components are formulated: one reveals the designer’s view of the problem as it evolves, and the other captures aspects of control and strategy. The reliability of these schemes is discussed and characteristics of limited conceptual design are identified. We describe our methods of collecting and encoding protocols and discuss how our formalisms could underlie a software toolkit for acquiring and representing conceptual mechanical design knowledge. Finally, we relate our formalisms to paradigms of conceptual design.


Temporal Logic Static Ontology Process Algebra Graph Grammar Denotational Semantic 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Esterline
  • Megan Arnold
  • Donald R. Riley
  • Arthur G. Erdman

There are no affiliations available

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