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SNewmanetal - Introduction Engineering design education the...

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Engineering design education – the integration of disciplines Simon Newman David Whatley and Ian Anderson The authors Simon Newman is a Senior Lecturer in Helicopter Engineering, David Whatley is a Chief Design Engineer and Ian Anderson is a Research Assistant at the School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton, UK Keywords Aerospace, Design, Education, Integration, Engineering, Simulation Abstract The concept of the design process is not well understood by the general public. Indeed industry is now looking for graduates with the core skills of mathematics and science but enhanced by a rm grounding in the engineering design process. At Southampton a number of initiatives have been implemented in teaching practices and further activities are being constructed to increase the undergraduate’s awareness of the order and execution of the modern design process. The demands of manufacture on design and the abilities of the undergraduate to use high grade CAD/CAM computer packages to perform these tasks is the focus of the developments. The exact package that is being used is not important, more so the thinking processes required in using them to their best advantage. The paper will describe the concepts behind these initiatives and how the engineering education process must itself become an example of the integration of disciplines. Electronic access The research register for this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0002-2667.htm Introduction The word design has many perceptions but, as an example, use the Oxford English Dictionary as a starting point. Design ± contrivance in accordance with a pre-conceived plan. This de ® nition makes the essential point that there are constraints placed on the concept at the outset and the eventual result of the work must satisfy these requirements. The idea that a designer has complete freedom to do as they please does not really ® t in with the above de ® nition. The concept of engineering design at least must follow this principle since the ultimate goal is a saleable product, which ® ts the customers needs. Bankruptcy is the only other option! The development and production of an aircraft (or in fact, any commercial product) generates a broader demand for design processes than is normally recognised. Design may be thought to apply purely to the product itself and the design process to conclude with the emergence of a saleable item (even if that item is subsequently re ® ned in the light of experience). Furthermore, it may be thought that the design process is relevant to the product solely to achieve its ef® cient operation ± in the case of an aircraft, to enable it to meet certain combat requirements, to transport cargo or passengers or to perform other operations with optimum economy.
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