Gary S. Drigel


The integration of cost into design courses in engineering and engineering technology programs is necessary to provide graduating engineers the skills to become immediate contributors to the goals and profits of their chosen companies. There are many methods that can be used, including sophisticated decision science techniques. One example of a teaching and analysis technique developed for use in strength of materials course is described. In this example, a simple selection model, called a decision matrix, is used to decide what combination of factors provided a cost- effective design. This type of technique will allow teaching professionals to introduce and reinforce the concept of cost into basic mechanical engineering design courses. Decision matrices are extensively used in many fields of science, health care, electronics, and manufacturing. Obviously, more sophisticated decision science processes using complex analysis and modeling techniques can also be used. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concepts of cost and optimization of design to engineering students early in their educational careers. The more sophisticated decision science models can be incorporated into advanced engineering design courses. Techniques such as this can also be applied in many other courses and disciplines including project management. The cost of oil and gasoline has tripled in the last few years. The concept of cost-effective design has suddenly reached new heights and now affects almost everyone in the world in which we live.