Asee peer logo

Application Of Standard Design Tools To Specialty Engineering Disciplines

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Teaching Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.221.1 - 11.221.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Paul Santi Colorado School of Mines

visit author page

PAUL M. SANTI is an Associate Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses on geological engineering design. Prior to teaching, he was employed in the engineering consulting industry for six years.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Application of Standard Design Tools to Specialty Engineering Disciplines


Example applications of most engineering design tools, such as reliability testing or optimization, are oriented toward the major engineering disciplines and not toward smaller, more unique disciplines. Furthermore, design in a field such as the author’s disciple of geological engineering does not generally produce manufactured items, mechanized processes, or high performance activities, which are what many design tools were developed to optimize. For these reasons, a set of design tools and examples was developed that specifically apply to geological engineering. Examples are developed for typical geological engineering problems, shepherding students through the same decision points they will face in this industry. The modifications and motivations to develop these tools may be useful to other specialty engineering disciplines, such as mining, petroleum, geophysical, environmental, metallurgical, nuclear, and materials/ceramics, to name a few.

Tools include general engineering design skills such as problem solving techniques, discipline-specific writing skills, project management techniques, and use of scientific principles to solve typical geological engineering problems. Numerical tools include optimization methods (differentiation, Langrangian multiplier, and linear programming), economic analysis (with examples different from the “machinery purchase and depreciation” models usually given), and statistics. Analytical tools include reliability and failure analysis, fault trees, risk assessment, and maintainability (which, for geological engineering, often focuses on “design for low maintenance”). Design management skills include ethics exercises specific to geological engineering and project management exercises aimed at students who will enter the consulting engineering and construction industries.

Design in Specialty Engineering Disciplines

In any engineering discipline, a contrast may be made between “engineering science” and “engineering design” problems. Engineering science problems typically share the following characteristics:

• “the problem statement is compact and well-posed • the problem has readily identifiable closure • the solution is unique and compact • the problem uses specialized knowledge”1

Typical engineering science problems might include calculation of deflection of a loaded steel beam or calculation of current flowing through a given circuit.

Santi, P. (2006, June), Application Of Standard Design Tools To Specialty Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--413

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015