Official ASME Group

Journal of Mechanical Design

The ASME Journal of Mechanical Design (JMD) serves the broad design community as a venue for scholarly, archival research in all aspects of the design activity.
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News & Updates

  • Featured Article: Mining Process Heuristics from Designer Action Data Hidden Markov Models

    Christopher McComb, Jonathan Cagan and Kenneth Kotovsky
    ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037308

    Configuration design problems are common in everyday life as well as engineering, with examples ranging from the selection and arrangement of furniture for a living room to the type of problem-solving used by NASA engineers to return Apollo 13 safely to Earth. There are many theoretical approaches for solving configuration design problems but few studies have examined how humans naturally solve them. This work used data-mining techniques (specifically hidden Markov models) to study the behavioral patterns shown by humans solving two distinct configuration design problems. Mining this data revealed beneficial process heuristics that are potentially generalizable to the entire class of configuration design problems. The trained models indicate that designers proceed through four procedural states, beginning in a state dominated by topology design and progressing to a final state with a focus on parameter design. The mined models also indicate that high-performing designers opportunistically tune parameters early in the process, enabling a more effective and nuanced search for good solutions.
    For the full article please visit ASME's Digital Collection.
  • Editors' Choice Paper Awards Process and Outcomes

    I am pleased to announce the Journal of Mechanical Design's (JMD's) Editors' Choice Paper Awards for the years: 2014, 2015, and 2016.

    Back in May 2014, I wrote an Editorial in JMD titled: “Announcing JMD's Annual Best Paper Award Guidelines.” In that editorial, I outlined the procedures we planned to follow to choose a yearly best paper from papers published in JMD in that year. However, after much further thought and input from the design engineering community, including many JMD Associate and Guest Editors and Editors of other ASME journals, I have decided to call this award: “Editors' Choice Paper Award.” The words “Editors' Choice” were used to refer to the Associate Editors (AEs) and Guest Editors (GEs) involvement in the nomination and selection process.

    Let me review the process of selecting the editors' choice paper(s). First, the AEs and GEs involved with the journal in a particular year were asked to nominate papers from those published in JMD in that year. Next, AEs and GEs were asked to vote on the nominated papers. Finally, a three-member committee from current and/or former AEs was formed to finalize the selection. The charge to the committee was to select one or more papers from JMD papers published in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 and which were nominated and voted on by AEs/GEs.

    As stated in my 2014 Editorial, the selection criteria used were based on (i) fundamental value of the contribution, (ii) expectation of archival value (e.g., expected number of citations), (iii) practical relevance to mechanical design, and (iv) quality of presentation. The selection committee informed me that in addition to these criteria, it considered the following two criteria: “The breadth of interest and applicability” and “whether the paper addressed an emerging area or an area of immediate interest in the community.” With its final selection, the committee also indicated that: “while we had strong consensus around the papers that were selected, we wanted to make sure that taken as a body the three papers represented a variety of communities and interests (e.g., we did not want three optimization papers or three gear train papers).”

    I am now pleased to inform you that the selection committee has finalized and informed me of their selection of Editors' Choice Paper Awards for each of the years 2014–2016, as listed below:

    1. --2014 Editors' Choice Paper Award: “A Descriptor-Based Design Methodology for Developing Heterogeneous Microstructural Materials System,” Hongyi Xu, Yang Li, Catherine Brinson, and Wei Chen, J. Mech. Des., 2014, 136(5): 051007–051007-12.
    2. --2015 Editors' Choice Paper Award: “Level Set Topology Optimization of Printed Active Composites,” Kurt Maute, Anton Tkachuk, Jiangtao Wu, H. Jerry Qi, Zhen Ding, and Martin L. Dunn, J. Mech. Des., 2015, 137(11): 111402–111402-13.
    3. --2016 Editors' Choice Paper Award: “A Stiffness Formulation for Spline Joints,” J. Hong, D. Talbot, and A. Kahraman, J. Mech. Des., 2016, 138(4):043301–043301-8.

    Each author of these papers will receive a plaque in recognition for their award. Also, all three papers can now be accessed FREE online at ASME's Digital Collection homepage.

    Please join me in congratulating the authors of these papers. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the current and former AEs and GEs who participated in the nomination of the papers and voted on them. In particular, I want to thank the selection committee who had to carefully read through a large number of the papers and collectively make their final choices!

    While I anticipate that there will be room for improvement in the selection process, I am hoping that the Editors' Choice Paper Award becomes a JMD tradition and an annual event.
    Shapour Azarm, Technical Editor

  • Featured Article: Optimal Design of Panel Reinforcements With Ribs Made of Plates

    Shanglong Zhang and Julián A. Norato
    J. Mech. Des 139(8), 081403 (2017); doi: 10.1115/1.4036999 

    Reinforcing ribs can significantly increase the stiffness of panels. In this study, we formulate a computational design method to determine the optimal position, dimensions and orientation of ribs made of stock plates and welded to a panel to maximize its stiffness. Typical applications of welded rib reinforcements are large metallic structures with low production volumes, for which other processes such as machining or stamping are either infeasible or too costly.  These applications include, for example, ship hulls, fuel tanks, aircraft wing structures and linkage components in heavy machinery. To determine the optimal ribs layout, we formulate a topology optimization technique whereby a feature-based geometric representation of the rib is smoothly mapped onto a finite element mesh for analysis. This mesh remains fixed throughout the optimization, thus circumventing re-meshing upon changes in the ribs layout. Importantly, our method enforces geometric constraints to ensure manufacturability, namely that: a) ribs must remain vertical at all times to ensure a good quality weld; b) the ribs dimensions must not exceed those of available stock plates; c) ribs should not encroach the space above holes on the panel used for routing other components or for access; and d) there must be a minimum spacing between ribs to ensure adequate access for the welding gun. Ours is the first method to determine the optimal layout of welded ribs made of flat plates within a 3-dimensional design envelope that satisfies the foregoing geometric constraints.
    For the full article please visit ASME's Digital Collection.