DESIGN/ANALYSIS OF EXPERIMENTS (DOE): DESIGNING THE 'OPTIMAL' PAPER AIRPLANE

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THIS PROJECT IN THE DESIGN THINKING PROCESS.

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SUMMARY.

Course: ISE 202 - Design/Analysis of Engineering Experiments

Team: 2 HFE and 2 ISE Graduate Students

Timeline: 2-Weeks

Contribution: Experimental Design \ Prototype \ Data Collection and Analysis \ Preparation and Presentation of Deliverables

In the Spring 2019 semester, 4 Human Factors and Industrial/Systems Engineering students formed a team to develop the 'optimal' paper airplane (measured in flight distance) using a two-factor, 1/8 fractional factorial experimental approach. The experiment considered six paper airplane design parameters, with each design parameter containing two possible factors (+/-):​

  • Body Length

  • Body Width

  • Paper Clip

  • Paper Weight

  • Wing Length

  • Wing Type

 

PROBLEM.

  • Flight distance depends on many design parameters, each with multiple levels to consider

  • Running a full factorial experiment can result in a large number of runs, becoming lengthy and expensive (with no practical significance)

  • The experimental design does not account for confounding variables or human factors (e.g., height of paper airplane operator)

 

OBJECTIVES.

  1. Design the 'optimal' paper airplane (defined as flight distance) using a two-factor, 1/8 fractional-factorial experiment

  2. Consider six design parameters, with each design parameter containing two possible factors

 

HYPOTHESIS.

H0: All treatment means are equal

H1: At least one treatment mean is different

alpha: 0.05

 

METHODS.

Factor Screening \ DOE \ Experiment

 

DATA ANALYSIS.

ANOVA \ Post-hoc Analyses

TOOLS.

Paper, Clipboard and Pencil \ Scissors \ Paperclips \ Measuring Tape \ A/V Equipment \ MiniTab DOE & Randomization \ SPSS Statistics \ Google Docs & Sheets

PROCESS.​

 
 

PROCEDURE.

Phase I: Developing and Testing Initial Paper Airplane Designs

Factor Screening:

  • Estimating factors with large effects (main effects)

  • Estimating low-order interactions

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Initial Airplane Development:

A total of eight paper airplane designs were developed using a randomization scheme, generated using MiniTab.

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio

Experimental Trials:

Using a two-factor, 1/8 fractional factorial experimental design with six design parameters and each design parameter containing two levels each, each airplane design was tested through four experimental trials each. Researcher (human factors) and confounding variables were controlled-for by assigning consistent paper airplane developer, operator, data measurer, and data logger roles across the research team.

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Statistical Analysis:

  • ANOVA

  • Post-hoc analyses

Phase II: Developing the 'Optimal' Paper Airplane

Optimal Airplane Development and Testing:

Results obtained from Phase I of the experiment were used to inform and test the 'Optimal' paper airplane design.

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio

Statistical Analysis:

  • ANOVA

  • Post-hoc analyses

 

RESULTS.​

Phase I: Developing and Testing Initial Airplane Designs​

 

ANOVA:

At an alpha level of 0.05, no significant differences were found between the treatment means, failing to reject the null hypothesis.

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Post-hoc Analyses:

Main Effects and Interaction Plots were analyzed to identify the parameters and levels that significantly affect flight distance.  

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio

Phase II: Developing the 'Optimal' Paper Airplane

ANOVA:

Data from the 'optimal' paper airplane experiment was compared to the data from the initial eight designs. At an alpha level of 0.05, at least one significantly different treatment mean was found. 

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Post-hoc Analyses:

Analysis of Fisher Pairwise Comparisons revealed the final design significantly flies a further distance than the initial eight designs.

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DELIVERABLES.

The following deliverable was presented to the ISE 202 Design/Analysis of Engineering Experiments course at San Jose State University:

 

Report and Presentation (Slide Deck).

NEXT STEPS.​

This experiment provided insights into the main and interaction effects of six paper airplane design parameters (each with two levels (+/-)) on total flight distance.​ Experimentation with additional factors, including human factors is necessary to improve and validate the design for various users.

 
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