Capstone design courses require balanced attention to structured design processes as well as development of high quality design solutions. Process elements are commonly built into these courses through intermediate deliverables such as progress reports, design reviews, design reports, and forums for displaying prototypes as well as hardware. Despite this formal structure, steady evolution of design quality is not assured. Personal interaction with instructors, mentors, and clients is needed to evaluate intermediate designs and focus team efforts on design deficiencies as well as on promising design features. Clarification of functional requirements, determination of optimal design parameters, and implementation of viable solutions often requires considerable instructor and design team iteration. Design intent behind instructor feedback given at these junctures is not immediately obvious to many students. This paper outlines the rationale behind selecting and the methodology for deploying axiomatic design as a primary tool in an interdisciplinary design course. The selection of axiomatic design was based on 1) limited bandwidth for the introduction of new tools, 2) the desire to facilitate communication about design attributes between students and instructors, and 3) to provide continuity of application between various phases of the design process.

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