Engineering design models are aids that provide the designer with the ability to visualize the form and predict the nature and behavior of any product. In each stage of design, these models are used to predict the result of, or guide, design specifications, at a time when the design can still be changed with minimal negative impact. To ensure the downstream validity of these specifications or decisions, the designer must construct models that have sufficient accuracy and resolution.

Determining the goodness of a model for a particular design decision or specification is a fundamental and pervasive question in engineering. Though fast to construct, and generally inexpensive, models based on estimation and approximation may not provide information of sufficient quality to make an accurate evaluation. In contrast, the crispness and depth of information gained from detailed computational analysis or experimental trials may come at too great an expense.

Hence, a key aspect of model construction in design is deciding whether a model is appropriate for a particular design specification or evaluation considering accuracy and cost factors. This paper explores the application of utility theory to the model construction problem. We also discuss how estimated model accuracy affects the confidence of selecting a particular model. We present this research through application to a racecar sway bar.

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