Abstract

One paradigm of concurrent design is based on the simultaneous consideration of a broad range of life-cycle constraints including those arising from function, manufacturing and maintenance. This simultaneous treatment of life-cycle issues results in a multitude of constraints, which not only increase the complexity of finding a design solution, but also make it difficult to understand the trends and interactions underlying the design. It is our goal to enhance the designer’s ability to identify and discriminate those constraints that critically impact the design from those that are irrelevant. We propose an interval analysis based approach, which is augmented with monotonicity and dominance principles. The approach helps in identifying regions of the design space where constraints possess certain desirable properties. It also enables reasoning with constraints in these regions. The regional inferences can then be reassembled to obtain global results. These ideas have been applied in the concurrent design of a fan blade, to identify the dominant, active and redundant constraints, enabling the designer to more clearly perceive and base his decisions on the critical design consideration. Furthermore, the identification of dominant constraints permits the easy evaluation of the significance of newly asserted constraints and frequently facilitates the automatic formulation of noniterative constraint satisfaction methods which guarantee a globally optimal design.

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