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Threshold Exam Study Notes:
Ideal Design Methodology:
The Test Vee
Constructing knowledge (attribute of engineering)
Constructivism suggests that learning is an active contextualised process of constructing
knowledge rather than ‘acquiring’ it.
 We construct our own understanding and knowledge through experiencing things and
reflecting on those experiences, organising facts, ideas and associations into a
meaningful system of relationships
Engineering Requirements:
Requirement should specify what the system will do, not how it
will be implemented.
Each requirement should have a single unambiguous meaning and
be stated with short complete sentences
Should ideally be measurable and have an associated target value
or range
Each requirement should be traceable to the needs of the user (i.e.
it exists because the user needs/wants it)
Collective Properties of Requirements:
 Is the property of orthogonality met for the Requirements Specification?
o There should be no overlap or redundancy between requirements
 Is the property of completeness met?
o Are all the end-user needs addressed in the Requirements Specification?
 Is the property of consistency met?
o The Requirements should not be self-contradictory.
Types of Engineering Requirements:
 Performance and functionality, eg.:  The car will be able to accelerate from 0 to
100kph in 5 seconds
 Reliability and availability, eg.:  The system will be operational 99% of the time
 Energy, eg.:  The system will have average power consumption of the 500 W
 Environmental, eg.:  The system must be waterproof and function while submerged
in water up to 3 m deep when the water temperature is between 5°C and 35°C.
Innovation versus Origination
 Innovation: modification of something that exists –
o Most successful designs are incremental changes to existing forms
 Internal combustion engine incrementally improved over last 100+
o However, does not hurt to look at problem from completely new perspective
 Origination: something brand new
o Design that is a substantial and fundamental departure from existing
Concept Generation:
Different approaches to Engineering Design:
 Selection design
o Design involves selecting standard components and assembling in
straightforward manner to achieve design objective.
o Reduces opportunity for innovative approaches
 Configuration design
o Typically involves use of standard components, components located and
arranged to improve performance or reduce size.
 Parametric design
o Primary design challenge is to vary performance or design parameters to
achieve design objectives
o Parameters may be embedded in equations that express relationship between
design parameters, objectives and/or constraints.
 Original design
o Design that is a substantial and fundamental departure from existing products
or processes.
Creative Thinking Model
1. Exploration: active and concerted search for new ideas
 Often ends in frustration due to inability to generate sufficient new ideas.
2. Incubation: extended period of relaxation during which there is no conscious effort to
address the problem
3. Intimation:
 feeling you get when you realise you’re on the right track are making progress
 resumption of purposeful pursuit with a belief that you’re making progress
4. Illumination: breakthrough that produces an attractive new
Barriers to Creative Thinking:
1. Perceptual barriers: prevents clear understanding of the design problem.
2. Cultural barriers: discourage non-traditional approaches that violate social norms.
3. Environmental barriers: anything in your immediate surrounding which inhibits
creativity, poor lighting, background noise etc.
4. Emotional barriers: feelings that discourage you from considering a solution or
distract you from the problem. e.g. Discomfort with risk.
5. Intellectual barriers: insufficient knowledge of a topic to incorporate it into the design.
Vertical Thinking VS Lateral Thinking:
 Vertical thinking:
o Typical way people approach problem solving
o Moving down a solution path by evaluating information logically and
o Move in sequential steps, each step justified by logic and fact
 Lateral thinking:
o Helps breakout of vertical patterns by:
 Reorganising dominant assumptions that polarise perception of
 Searching for different ways to look at things
 Relaxing rigid control of thinking
 Encourages other ideas
Engineering Design Life Cycle:
1. Requirements analysis
2. System design
3. Detailed design
4. Production
5. Distribution
6. Consumption
7. Retirement
Guiding Principles in Ethics:
1. Demonstrate integrity
1.1 Act on the basis of a well-informed conscience
1.2 Be honest and trustworthy
1.3 Respect the dignity of all persons
2. Practise competently
2.1 Maintain and develop knowledge and skills
2.2 Represent areas of competence objectively
2.3 Act on the basis of adequate knowledge
3. Exercise leadership
3.1 Uphold the reputation and trustworthiness of the practice of engineering
3.2 Support and encourage diversity
3.3 Communicate honestly and effectively, taking into account the reliance of others
on engineering expertise
4. Promote sustainability
4.1 Engage responsibly with the community and other stakeholders
4.2 Practise engineering to foster the health, safety and wellbeing of the community
and the environment
4.3 Balance the needs of the present with the needs of future generations
Emerging Teamwork Issues:
 Difference of opinion
 Communication difficulties
 Overemphasis on conflict avoidance
Stages in Team Formation (Tuckman Model)and Performance:
1. Forming: Getting to know the team members (usually there’s little conflict at this
2. Storming: Discussing processes and roles (uncertainty and sometimes conflict)
3. Norming: Agreeing on collaborative processes and roles (may be some conflict)
4. Performing: Completing the project
5. Mourning: the feelings associated with loss when the team is disbanded once the
project is complete
Types of Models:
1. Physical
2. Virtual
3. Mathematical
Types of Thinking:
Critical Thinking Critical thinking is focused, careful analysis of something to better
understand it. When people speak of “left brain” activity, they are usually referring to critical
thinking. Here are some of the main criticalthinking abilities:  Analysing is breaking
Creative thinking Creative thinking is expansive, open-ended invention and discovery of
possibilities. When people speak of “right brain” activity, they most often mean creative
thinking. Here are some of the more common creative thinking abilities:
 TRIZ is a generic name for a family of tools for problem analysis, problem reframing,
failure analysis and creative problem solving
 TRIZ MATCEMIB is intended to support idea generation that draws on many
different fundamental processes at the heart of the various engineering disciplines
 Perspectives: mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electric, magnetic,
intermolecular, biological
Substitute.  Combine.  Adapt.  Modify.  Put to another use. 
Eliminate/Elaborate/Enhance some part of the design.  Reverse /rearrange sections or parts
of the design
First, take an existing product or service. This could be one that you want to improve, one
that you're currently having problems with, or one that you think could be a good starting
point for future development. 2. Then, ask questions about the product you identified, using
the mnemonic to guide you. Brainstorm as many questions and answers as you can. 3.
Finally, look at the answers that you came up with.