Product Modularity–The Link Between Product Architecture and Product Life-Cycle Costs

John Gershenson (MEEM) has received a $289,439 grant for his project, “Product Modularity–The Link Between Product Architecture and Product Life-Cycle Costs.” This grant provides for the development of a method for understanding qualitative and quantitative connections among product architecture, product modularity, and life-cycle costs. Product architecture – the structure of assemblies, sub-assemblies, and components – has an enormous impact on the costs associated with each life-cycle phase of a product; manufacturing, assembly, service, retirement, etc. Component grouping into modules is one of the critical early decisions made by designers. This work aims to provide the relationship between modularity decisions and life-cycle product costs that designers lack by quantitatively relating each to product architecture. The result is a validated, implementable design method that includes these quantitative relationships. We hope to explicitly show, and therefore encourage, the application of validation to design methods.

Ford Gift Opens Door to Nanotech Research

Two Michigan Technological University researchers are undertaking a brand-new endeavor that could play a role in fields as diverse as chemical warfare and computer touch screens, thanks to an unusual gift from the Ford Motor Company.

Ford has donated five patents that could serve as a springboard to the creation of some of the finest filters seen outside of nature.

The patents relate to conductive polymers, which the scientists hope to use as glue for building membranes so fine they could separate out oxygen (or more sinister gases) from the ambient air. The work involves combining 21st-century polymers and one of the most ancient organisms on earth, the diatom.