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Research Papers

Concept Exploration Through Morphological Charts: An Experimental Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Gregory Smith

Michelin Americas Research Corporationgreg.smith@us.michelin.com

Jenkins Richardson

E-Z-Go (A Textron Company)jlrichardson@textron.com

Joshua D. Summers

Clemson Universityjsummer@clemson.edu

Gregory M. Mocko

Clemson Universitygmocko@clemson.edu

J. Mech. Des 134(5), 051004 (Apr 25, 2012) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006261 History: Received May 27, 2010; Revised March 12, 2011; Published April 24, 2012; Online April 25, 2012

This paper presents two design experiments to evaluate the impact of the size and shape of a morphological chart used to identify promising concepts within those charts. In each experiment, students designed either a burrito folder or a pet feeder. The first experiment used two rectangular morphological charts; one vertically oriented with more functions and one horizontally oriented with more means. The second experiment used four morphological charts, two charts similar to the first experiment and two nearly square with a similar number of functions and means. Participants from similar populations were enrolled and similar protocols were followed to align the results for comparison. A comparison of the significant aspects of each experiment emphasized the problem, the participants, the morphological charts employed, and the experimental procedures. Furthermore, a critique of the two experiments is provided and joint conclusions are drawn. Experimental results suggest that reducing information in the morphological charts, such as the number of functions, enhances the likelihood for developing higher quality integrated concept solutions. While accurate for most configurations, this benefit is limited in that the largest sized chart failed to show worse results compared with smaller counterparts.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Morphological charts arranged by participants’ quality scores as assessed by panel

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