The first edition of Engineering Design was published in 1983, mainly for materials engineering majors. However, that and subsequent editions of the book became popular among mechanical engineering majors. In this fourth edition, the senior author (George Dieter) has been joined by his colleague (Linda Schmidt) to make additional contributions in prescriptive product design processes. This new edition of the book has 898+ pages and gives a comprehensive overview of engineering design processes for consumer products.

The authors have organized their book into 18 chapters. These include the three design phases: conceptual, embodiment, and detailed design phases (Chaps. 1–9), followed by the Design for X topics (Chaps. 10–18). A brief summary of these chapters is provided in the next two paragraphs to give the reader a sense of the breath of materials covered in the book.

In Chap. 1, an overview of the engineering design process is provided including ways to think about the design process, considerations of a good design, design to codes, and design review for identifying problems with a design. Chapter 2 presents the product development process including different organizational structures, the critical function that marketing plays, and ideas about technological innovations. Chapter 3 discusses details of the problem definition, including customer needs. This chapter gives different views of customer requirements, engineering characteristics, and the House of Quality which relates customer requirements and engineering characteristics. It also gives the details of the product design specifications. Chapter 4 is on the infrastructure of the design including team related issues. It provides useful ideas such as what it takes to be an effective team leader or how to conduct an effective team meeting, time management, planning, and scheduling in support of a design activity. Chapter 5 deals with gathering information. It discusses the challenges in collecting information, types of information, and different sources of information such as library, government, internet, professional societies and publications, and others. Chapter 6 presents a variety of concept generation techniques with their strengths and weaknesses. These methods include concept generation by brainstorming, analogy, association, functional decomposition, morphology, and axiomatic design. Chapter 7 gives an overview of decision making and selection tools, including the behavioral aspects of decision making, decision trees, and evaluation methods such as the Pugh's method and analytical hierarchy process. Chapter 8 is on embodiment design. The embodiment is the phase where the designer “puts meat on the bones.” It involves three main activities: product architecture, configuration design, and parametric design. Additional topics in this chapter include dimensions and tolerances, industrial design, human factors, design for environment, prototyping and testing. Chapter 9 discusses the detailed design phase where decisions are finalized and the design is released for production. These include engineering drawings, bill of materials, final design review, and plans for design and manufacturing activities beyond the detailed design.

Chapter 10 is on modeling and simulation. It discusses types of models, the model building process, dimensional analysis, a short summary of finite difference/element methods, geometric modeling, and simulation modeling. Chapter 11 is on material selection for design, including performance characteristics of materials, economics and recycling of materials. Chapter 12 is on design with materials, including design for brittle fracture, fatigue failure, corrosion resistance, design against wear, and design with plastics. Chapter 13 discusses design for manufacture, including classification and selection of manufacturing processes. This chapter also covers design for assembly, design for forgings, design for sheet metal forming, design for machining, design for heat treatment, and design for plastics processing. Chapter 14 is on risk, reliability and safety. It discusses the probabilistic approach to design, design for reliability, failure mode and effects analysis, and design for safety. Chapter 15 is on quality, robust design and optimization. It presents the concept of total quality, quality control and assurance, statistical process control, and Taguchi method for robust design. The chapter also gives a brief overview of optimization concepts and methods. Chapter 16 presents cost evaluation. It discusses categories of costs and methods for estimating them. Chapter 17 presents legal and ethical issues such as contracts and their types, liability, intellectual property, and solving ethical conflicts. Finally, Chap. 18 is on economic decision making, including time value of money, cost comparisons by way of present worth analysis, annual cost analysis, capitalized costs analysis, depreciation, taxes, profitability of investment, inflation, break-even analysis, and benefit-cost analysis.

Since design terminology can be a barrier to learning design practice, these authors made a special effort to be consistent and use the most accepted design vocabulary. To reinforce the terminology, each chapter ends with a list of New Terms and Concepts. Many references are given to “classic design papers” and to sources that extend the discussion of a particular topic. Nevertheless, readers need to be aware of choices made by the authors of the book. For example, the book is more oriented toward product design than system design, although the design process described is applicable to both. Design optimization has been condensed from a separate chapter in the previous edition of the book to a brief introductory section. The chapter on engineering statistics has been dropped from this edition. Chapter 17 on Legal and Ethical Issues in Design, and Chap. 18 on Economic Decision Making have been placed on the publisher's website ( This website also maintains Errata, Solutions Manual for instructors, and other related information.

In summary, this book provides a balance between extended discussion of the design tools that are finding acceptance from problem definition to detail design and the design for X ideas that are important from an industry point of view. This is a good undergraduate text that should be applicable to almost any undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum. It should be a useful companion to any new engineer starting his/her career. Also, it would be a useful book for a practicing engineer who wishes to become more familiar with modern approaches to product design.