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A Study on the Factors Influencing the Usage of Environmentally Friendly Products

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.114.1 - 24.114.14



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Paper Authors


Nicole Elise Esposito Halliburton Energy Services

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Nicole is currently a design engineer for Halliburton Energy Services in the Testing and Subsea department. She completed her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in August 2011. She then went on to complete her master's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M in December 2012 under Dr. Julie Linsey.

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Vimal Viswanathan Tuskegee University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Vimal Viswanathan is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tuskegee University, AL. He obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2012. His research interests include design theory & methodology, design creativity and engineering education.

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Julie S. Linsey Georgia Institute of Technology

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Benchmarking in Design Projects: Lessons Learned from a Sophomore Design CourseThis paper presents some of the lessons learned from a sophomore design course offered at oneof the major universities in the United States. This course is developed to provide realisticdesign, machining and mechatronics experiences to mechanical engineering sophomores. As apart of this course, the students are required to generate ideas for solving a real-life designproblem. The objective of this study is to identify the influences of benchmarking products onthe final concepts generated by student designers. Literature shows that designers, while solvingopen-ended design problems, tend to copy features from any examples available to them, aphenomenon known as “design fixation.” This paper studies the benchmarking products andtheir effect on student-generated designs for a cake transportation problem. The challenge is todevise a method to safely transport large cakes from a bakery to the location of their final use.The design process includes customer needs understanding, researching on existing designs,quality function deployment, functional decomposition, concept generation and the selection of afinal design. At the end of the project, the students are required to present a final design and fouralternate feasible concepts. Students work on this project as teams of three or four. For thisparticular design problem, there is a finite set of existing products that the students canbenchmark and these products possess their own disadvantages, necessitating a new design. Forthe purpose of this study, the final reports from 50 design teams are collected and analyzed forthe presence of features from the benchmarking products. The working principles of the conceptsare identified and then they are broken down to the level of individual features. These principlesand features are compared against those from the benchmarking products. It is observed thatwhile many teams identified and used the abstract working principles of the benchmarkingproducts, many of them also copied the surface features in their designs. While fixation to theabstract working principles of the benchmarking products can lead to working designs, it hindersthe generation of alternate design concepts. In many cases, students restricted their solutions tothe variations of the benchmarking products instead of exploring the solution-space any further.The fixation to surface features often leads to unnecessary design features in the final concepts,which may lead to added cost for the product. This shows that current engineering designcurricula needs to provide additional guidance to students so that they can avoid fixation to thoseproducts. The paper also summarizes some suggestions to teach design courses while avoidingfixation to the benchmarking products.

Esposito, N. E., & Viswanathan, V., & Linsey, J. S. (2014, June), A Study on the Factors Influencing the Usage of Environmentally Friendly Products Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20006

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