Skip to Main Content
Most of the courses taken by engineering students deal with the analysis of given devices or systems rather than design. In fact, courses that teach design to a depth comparable to that of analysis are virtually unknown. As a consequence, students are not well prepared to function as designers when they begin their careers. They quickly gravitate to cut-and-try model building as a design procedure. A more desirable method is one wherein the equations of a mathematical model are structured in such a way as to allow noniterative solution for the unknown design variables. This is called synthesis. The usual impediment to the use of synthesis is that the designer does not develop a complete mathematical model. An important remedy is the careful identification of all specifications in mathematical terms. Another remedy of equal importance is the reduction of the design variables by piecemeal optimization. The author has been teaching this method in his design courses for the past fifteen years. Examples of its use are presented.