REDUNDANCY ELIMINATIONS AND PLAUSIBLE ASSUMPTIONS OF DESIGN PARAMETERS FOR EVALUATING DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
Evaluation of design alternatives is an important task for engineering design and its results affect strongly the outcome of decision-making processes and the quality of the artifact being designed. In the present paper, a method is proposed based on representation of alternatives through associative weighted digraphs of design parameters and use of performance variables defined according to evaluation criteria. The method relies on designer-guided eliminations of redundancies of common design parameters among different alternatives and plausible assumptions about value domains of design parameters that take part in the evaluation process. Eliminations of redundancies of common design parameters lead to unified digraphs for all alternatives and the introduction of Plausible Assumptions’ Matrix systematizes the process of assigning feasible value domains for all types of all design parameters. Linear approximate calculation formulas pertaining to the unified digraphs are also introduced for evaluating alternatives based on comparable values of performance variables. A case study for two alternatives for a stiffness element exemplifies the proposed approach.