Contextualizing Environmental Sustainability in Design Engineering Curricula

by | Aug 15, 2014

Authors: Devarajan Ramanujan, William Z. Bernstein, Monica Cardella, Karthik Ramani
In ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (pp. V003T04A025-V003T04A025). American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Consideration of environmental sustainability is significantly altering the nature of the mechanical design process. This necessitates integration of sustainability related learning content in design engineering curricula. Although various frameworks for teaching sustainable design exist, a survey conducted among practicing student engineers shows the presence of significant knowledge gaps. To this end, we propose a problem-based framework for contextualizing sustainability assessment within design engineering curricula. Our framework makes it possible for embedding sustainability related concepts within traditional engineering courses and promotes discovery learning among students by means of design exploration. We illustrate our approach using a shape synthesis task that integrates environmental assessment into design by constraining the decision space for domain specific variables. Results from a user survey for analyzing the effects of our framework show its ability to promote both awareness and applicability of sustainable design concepts as well as its potential for use in existing engineering curricula.


Dev Ramanujan

Dev Ramanujan

Dev is starting as an Assistant Professor - Design Research at Aarhus University this in Fall 2017. He was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Global Engineering and Research Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Feb 2016 - June 2017. He received his PhD in Dec 2015 from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. His research work in the C Design Lab focused on data representation and visualization models for supporting environmentally conscious product design. He has co-authored publications in the Journal of Mechanical Design, Journal of Computing and Information Science, Computer-Aided Design, Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering International Design Engineering Technical Conferences. He has received the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Design for Manufacturing and the Lifecycle Scholar Development Award in 2014, and the Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015.  [Linked In Profile] [Personal Web Page]