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Managing and Exchanging Knowledge Underlying Aerospace Engineering Design Decisions

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session 1

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1129.1 - 26.1129.9



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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Scott Fleming Georgia Institute of Technology

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Elizabeth "Scottie-Beth" Fleming is an Aerospace Engineering PhD candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow in the Cognitive Engineering Center (CEC) at Georgia Tech. She graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Her research within the CEC examines interdisciplinary teams within the engineering design process, training approaches for pilots, and human interaction with technology.

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Amy Pritchett Georgia Institute of Technology

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Amy R. Pritchett is the Davis S. Lewis Associate Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Aerospace Engineering

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Characterizing Cooperative Design Strategies in Aerospace Engineering Design EducationThe aerospace engineering design process is a complex, iterative process through whichindividuals and teams solve ill-defined, multidisciplinary problems by integratingdomain-based technical knowledge. Aerospace engineers must use effective approachesto design, integration, and synthesis to develop an operable system capable of meetingrequirements within often opposed constraints. The complexities inherent to aerospacevehicle design calls for designers to be able to evaluate design tradeoffs, balanceopposing constraints, communicate preferences, coordinate tasks, and assess interfaces.However, too often engineers are unable to translate their preferences, constraints, anddecisions to others also involved in the design. Further, current approaches to aerospacevehicle design may limit designers’ abilities to integrate and synthesize technicaldisciplinary knowledge while concurrently incorporating non-technical requirements (e.g.cost constraints). Thus, cooperative design strategies must be incorporated withinaerospace engineering to provide designers with the required skills for effective complexsystems design.The goal of this research is to characterize cooperative design strategies in the context ofaerospace engineering design education. Cooperative design strategies are applied tocomplex, multidisciplinary engineering problems to support effective design integrationacross disciplines. A cooperative design process − recognizes disciplinary interdependencies and supports multidisciplinary integration, − directs all designers to integrate their efforts toward achieving shared high-level goals, and − promotes integrated design decisions through deliberate collaboration processesCooperative design is characterized by drawing together and bringing new insight totheoretical research and idealized design practices. Thus a ‘scholarship of integration’approach is used to formulate design strategies (i.e. designer behaviors) that promotecooperative design within aerospace engineering. This approach uses a detailed literatureanalysis and synthesis to identify converging boundaries of research spanning multipleacademic domains, such as engineering design, organizational behavior, industrial andorganizational psychology, systems engineering, human factors, and aerospaceengineering. The strategies are then verified through an applied aerospace engineeringdesign case study.Results of this research enhance the integrated systems perspective in aerospace designeducation through the characterization of cooperative design strategies. These strategieswill be used in the design of learning modules related to design integration and synthesisto be taught within an aerospace engineering capstone course. Further, the researchoutcomes will directly address the gap between aerospace engineering design practicesand the need for a more integrated design approach. The developed design strategies haveimplications to aligning engineering practices across dispersed design teams in industry.

Fleming, E. S., & Pritchett, A. (2015, June), Managing and Exchanging Knowledge Underlying Aerospace Engineering Design Decisions Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24466

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