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Viability of the Proposed Solution

To develop or not to develop the product that is the question. Often, the decision not to
develop a product is financial based on a thorough analysis, it is determined that the
anticipated income from the product cannot support the anticipated cost of development.
However, if a financial analysis indicates that the sales of a new product (when compared to
the cost of development) could potentially produce an acceptable profit, you must ask,
Should the product be developed? But this is not always an easy question to answer.
A designer or engineer has an ethical responsibility to his client, his profession, and to
society. In light of these responsibilities, the designer should consider all potential
consequences, good and bad, resulting from development of a product and then compare the
benefits of product development to potential negative impacts. Do the benefits outweigh the
risks? Is continuing with product development the right thing to do?
The design, manufacture, packaging, distribution, and use of any new product will result in
consequences, both positive and negative. These consequences are far reaching and wide
ranging. For example, will the manufacture and distribution of the product consume
nonrenewable natural resources or produce pollution? How will the development of the
product affect the workers that will help produce, transport, and sell the product? What affect
(intended or not) will the use of the product have on the consumer, the environment, and
society? On the other hand, development of the product may create jobs, use abandoned
facilities or discarded waste materials, and improve the lives of people.
The considerations mentioned above assume that the product is well designed and functions
as intended. However, another important ethical responsibility of the designer is to ensure
that the product is well designed and does not suffer unintended failure. What will happen if
your product does not work as intended or suffers a catastrophic failure? Will the failure
cause harm? It is important that the designer has the knowledge and expertise, or seeks out
people with that knowledge and expertise, to properly design the product in order to minimize
the risks of failure.
In this activity you will consider the consequences of your product design, compare the
positive and negative impacts, and assess the ethical implication of continuing to develop
your product.


Engineering notebook
Internet access
Access to trade journals, magazines, newspaper, and other printed material
Product Lifecycle handout (from Lesson 1.1)
Product working drawings

Work together as a team to complete the following.
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1. Revisit the Project Proposal that you created and your design specifications. Consider
the technical expertise and knowledge that is required to properly design your product.
Has your team acquired the math, science, and engineering knowledge necessary to
properly design your product? Have you contacted experts in order to gain the
necessary knowledge or obtain assistance with the parts of the design that your team
is not well equipped to perform? It is impossible to include an exhaustive list of math,
science, and engineering principles that you should incorporate into the design of your
product because each product design will require consideration of different concepts.
The following list is intended only to get you thinking about concepts that you may
need to investigate further.

Loads. How will loads be transferred from the environment to your product, and
how will loads be transferred within your product? Loads will be transferred by
human force. Will the loads be static (unchanging) or dynamic (changing)?
Dynamic How can you calculate the loads? Testing various loads from people
while brushing their teeth. Will the components of your product be able to
withstand the magnitude of these loads? Yes

Materials. Will your choice of materials withstand the test of time? Our product
life is around 3 to 4 months, so we will ensure it is durable enough for that
period and that it is equipped with enough floss. Will the density/weight of the
materials adversely affect your design? The body is the main component and it
will be made of plastic and hollow inside, so weight should not be an issue, but
if it was, the product would just be too heavy for use. Will mechanical properties
of your materials provide sufficient strength, stiffness, and abrasion resistance?
Yes plastic will be stiff and strong enough for the product life. Will the material
be able to withstand repetitive loading without premature failure? Yes as long as
we make the plastic thick. Will the material operate well within the range of
temperatures to which the product will be subjected? Yes we have found the
range of temperatures and have researched our main materials ability to
withstand it. How will the material react to sunlight, temperature variations,
chemicals to which it will be exposed? It will not react a great deal to any of
these because only a minor amount of sunlight will normally be subjected to it,
in which a thick plastic and the nylon bristles can withstand. As far as chemicals
go, the most interaction our product will have with it will be the toothpaste,
which it will be accustomed to. Temperatures in its normal setting is a
household range, so our material will sustain that exposure.

Mechanical Engineering. Does your design require an input of heat or

mechanical power? No Are there moving parts in your design? No What simple
machines are employed in the design? Lever Will all the components of your
product interact effectively? Yes Will the loads be efficiently transferred from
part to part? Yes Do all the parts move at an ideal speed? According to our
design for the floss which is based on previous floss designs, it should move
manually at an ideal speed.

Energy. Does your product require an input of energy? Yes In what form is the
energy supplied? Human energy How is it converted by your product to produce
the desired output? Lever action is used to convert force from hand to brushing

Chemical/Bio Engineering. Does your design involve conversion of raw

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materials to another form during manufacture or use? No What chemical or

biological transformations are involved in the process(es)? n/a

Electrical Engineering. Will your design involve electricity, electronics, control

systems, telecommunications, or computers? No How will these systems be
integrated into your design? n/a

2. Have you researched laws, codes, and regulations that could potentially impact your
design? Do you feel that your team has met its ethical responsibility for technical
expertise related to the design of your product? If not, perform additional research at
this time. Revise your product design as necessary.
Yes. I think we have because we have recognized all the factors involved and have
researched previous products that were safe and ethical similar to ours (dental
hygiene products) and have taken their success into account.

3. Create a graphic to document your products anticipated lifecycle. Research the efforts
necessary to take your product from raw materials to the end of its lifecycle (and
potentially be reused or recycled into new products). Detail each phase of the cycle
with information specific to your product. For example, in the Raw Material Extraction
phase, indicate the raw materials that must be obtained in order to create your
product. In the Material Processing phase, detail the processes necessary to convert
the raw materials to usable substances in your product. In the Assembly and
Packaging phase, detail the anticipated method of assembly (one-off, hand
assembled, human assembly line in a large manufacturing facility, fully automated
robotic assembly, etc.) and the anticipated type of packaging that will be used.
Life cycle on Weebly.
4. Consider the consequences of the development of your product at each phase in its
lifecycle to people (designers, users, nonusers, employees of the manufacturers,
distributors, sellers, etc.), the environment (including the use of nonrenewable natural
resources; the potential release of toxins, waste, or pollution; the creation of visually
unappealing facilities or noise pollution; the effect on animal and plant species, etc.),
and society. On people, our product will have small negative consequences because
its purpose is to encourage good hygiene habits. Workers in the manufacturing
companies will (of course) be treated fairly, and distributors/sellers will make a fair
profit. There may be slight environmental consequences if the plastic toothbrush is not
disposed of correctly, but we hope to use recycled plastic to manufacture and will
encourage customers to recycle the toothbrush when the time comes to do so.
5. Compose an ethical justification for further development of your product by describing
why and how the benefits of your product outweigh the negative impacts.

1 What are some potential ways in which your product could fail? What design features
have you included to minimize the chance of failure?
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2 Is development of a product that knowingly causes harm to people ever ethically

justifiable? Why or why not? Give examples to support your position.

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