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Development of a Simplified Method for Representing Technological Systems for Non-Engineers

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Promoting Technological Literacy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count

22

Page Numbers

24.418.1 - 24.418.22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20309

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

biography

John Krupczak Hope College

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Professor of Engineering, Hope College, Holland, Michigan. Former Chair of the ASEE Technological Literacy Division. Former Chair of the ASEE Liberal Education Division. Senior Fellow CASEE, National Academy of Engineering, 2008-2010.

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biography

Lauren Aprill Hope College

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Engineering Student, Hope College, Holland, Michigan 49423

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biography

Daniel J. Langholz

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Engineering student at Hope College, Holland, Michigan

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Abstract

Development of a Simplified Method for Representing Function Structures of Technological SystemsAbstractA challenge in promoting engineering and technological literacy is the need to convey the majoraspects of technological systems to an audience that has a limited pre-existing knowledge ofengineering principles. Visual aids such diagrams are helpful in summarizing key features oftechnological systems. However in survey courses of modern technology for non-engineers, themethods and conventions used must be consistent across a broad spectrum of commontechnologies including automobiles, structures such as bridges, and electronics. This workdescribes the development of a set of techniques to describe how technological systems work byfocusing on the function structures of technological system. Non-engineers can learn thismethod in a limited amount of time and a diverse range of technological products can berepresented. The method avoids the creation of ad hoc diagrams for each system and is based onthe engineering design technique of functional analysis or functional decomposition. This classictechnique is modified to emphasize the description of the functions carried out by existingsystem components rather than functions to be achieved through the design process. The methodutilizes the convention of representing technological systems as transforming specified inputsinto expected outputs. Inputs and outputs are treated as flows of material, energy, or information.Conventional functional analysis is extended to include force as a system flow. Time-dependence of system behavior is accommodated. Icons similar to conventional schematicsymbols are utilized to provide visual references and cues. This technique reflects the type ofthinking used by engineers; however prerequisite background knowledge or use of extensivemathematics is not required. Initial results from using this adaptation of functional analysis in acourse for non-engineers show an increase in technological and engineering literacy among thepilot audience.

Krupczak, J., & Aprill, L., & Langholz, D. J. (2014, June), Development of a Simplified Method for Representing Technological Systems for Non-Engineers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20309

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