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The function analysis diagram: Intended benefits and coexistence with other functional models

  • Marco Aurisicchio (a1), Rob Bracewell (a2) and Gareth Armstrong (a3)


Understanding product functions is a key aspect of the work undertaken by engineers involved in complex system design. The support offered to these engineers by existing modeling tools such as the function tree and the function structure is limited because they are not intuitive and do not scale well to deal with real-world engineering problems. A research collaboration between two universities and a major power system company in the aerospace domain has allowed the authors to further develop a method for function analysis known as function analysis diagram that was already in use by line engineers. The capability to generate and edit these diagrams was implemented in the Decision Rationale editor, a software tool for capturing design rationale. This article presents the intended benefits of the method and justifies them using an engineering case study. The results of the research have shown that the function analysis diagram method has a simple notation, permits the modeling of product functions together with structure, allows the generation of rich and accurate descriptions of product functionality, is useful to work with variant and adaptive design tasks, and can coexist with other functional modeling methods.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Marco Aurisicchio, Design Engineering Group, Mechanical Engineering Department, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. E-mail:


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