In the present paper, a method is presented based on the exploitation of the computational relationships among design entities in order to obtain valuable design knowledge concerning the performance and the function of the designed object (artifact, product, machine, etc.). The approach is applicable for most of the design problems and may be used in the design cases where the design problem under consideration can be formally decomposed and expressed in terms of design entities and associative relationships among them. The design knowledge is represented through different hierarchical tree types corresponding to the physical, computational and performance domains. The representation of the design knowledge in terms of computational relationships instead of terms of functional relationships is more convenient and flexible. Design modeling becomes simpler and more direct by assigning values to generic performance variables instead of defining and quantifying functional requirements, the design analysis resolution is adjustable and both the establishment and the categorization of computational operators into classes of sensitivity provide the ability of efficiently surveying and manipulating the relationships in case of value variations. The proposed method is applied to an example case of a conveyor’s design. Some remarks and a reference to future work conclude the paper.

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