Abstract: Designers use several visual tools for exploring and understanding design problems and solutions. House of Quality (HoQ), function-structure, Morphological matrices, concept selection tables, 2D drawings are some of the visual tools and representations used in mechanical design. In this article we attempt to connect these visual tools and their underlying models to support exploration in early design using a representation called the working knowledge model (WKM). We identify two key aspects in design that are important for establishing such connections: different abstractions are used to describe the same design element, and several alternatives are considered during exploration. The constituent elements of the visual tools such as engineering characteristics (ECs) in a HoQ are described using classes of the information model. A simple wiki-based implementation is described that allows the user to tag the wiki text with WKM classes, which is then extracted to populate a database. This information is used by visual tools that can be embedded within a wiki page; the decisions taken by the user using these visual tools are then incorporated back into the WKM database and the wiki is updated if needed. A case study of the design of an automotive flow control valve is described to demonstrate the prototype.
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