Although morphological charts are widely taught used tools in engineering design, little formal guidance is provided regarding their representation and exploration. Thus, an experiment was conducted to elucidate the influence of functional ordering on the exploration of morphological charts. Two design prompts were used, each with five different functional arrangements: (1) most-to-least important function, (2) least-to-most important function, (3) input-to-output function, (4) output-to-input function, and (5) Random. Sixty-seven junior mechanical engineering students were asked to generate integrated design concepts from prepopulated morphological charts for each design prompt. The concepts were analyzed to determine the frequency with which a given means was selected, how much of the chart was explored, the sequence of exploration, and the influence of function ordering. Results indicated a tendency to focus upon the initial columns of the chart irrespective of functional order. The most-to-least-important functional order resulted in higher chances and a uniformity of design space exploration.

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