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Principles Of Design

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement, and White Space. The following are more articles on Design Principles to help guide you in the competition.

First Principles Thinking: The Definitive Guide (  Aristotle defined a first principle as “the first basis from which a thing is known.” 

First Principles: Elon Musk on the Power of Thinking for Yourself (  “Instead of buying a finished rocket for tens of millions, Musk decided to create his own company, purchase the raw materials for cheap, and build the rockets himself. SpaceX was born.”

Integrative Design...
The Great Underused Lever

Energy end-use efficiency’s potential is large1 and little tapped. Yet all official studies substantially understate its potential and overstate its cost because they focus on individual technologies without also counting integrative design that optimally combines those technologies. The efficiency resource keeps getting bigger and cheaper as innovation, competition, and volume make energy-saving technologies more effective and less costly—both faster than they’re being applied.2 But even more critical complementary advances in integrative design remain nearly invisible, unrecognized, untaught, and practiced only by a small subset of exceptional designers.


 Doug Houseman has a series of linkedin posts regarding how the United Staets will gets to zero for the electricity and transportation sectors.  Here are a few of his links to posts on his plan.


Optimizing Energy and Mass Flows

 Process (energy and mass flow) integration (Wikipedia)1 “is a term in chemical engineering which has two possible meanings.”

“A holistic approach to process design which emphasizes the unity of the process and considers the interactions between different unit operations from the outset, rather than optimizing them separately…”

Pinch analysis, a technique for designing a (heating and cooling systems) to minimize energy consumption and maximize heat recovery…”2 


 1-Pro Tip:  Get to the source.  While peer review journals disqualify references to Wikipedia, sometimes it is a good place to start the search for tracking down sourced, foundational references.

2- Curator’s Note:  Two “pinch analysis” articles by Bodo Linnhoff in Chemical Engineering Progress in perhaps the late 1980’s and early 1990s tooled me to use first principles to render or correct system energy integrations in one swoop.  The first article gave the principles and the methods.  The second article was recognition of the 80/20 rule.  My takeaway was, “If an absolutist approach is taken to efficiency, then in the real world there can be unintended consequences, like overly complex operations, impractical start-up sequences, and overinvestment in capital.” Ironically, once I understood the first principles, I never needed to do a rigorous pinch analysis per se.  For example, it is possible to “see” gross thermodynamic efficiency violations by identifying wide temperature approaches in individual heat exchangers.  And in cryogenic design most simulators have the approaches built into their complex heat exchanger models.  (If anyone can provide the references to those Bodo Linnhoff articles it would be appreciated.)

Key takeaways from Michael Liebreich and Amory Lovins discussion about integrative design and energy efficiency:    

“… doing seven things may get a quarter energy reduction… fifty more may get another quarter…”

“Relentless patience and meticulous attention to detail …”

“Friction in a pipe goes down as nearly a fifth power of its diameter. But its cost goes up as a second order of its diameter… Pipes should be fat, short, and straight; not narrow, long, and crooked.”

“Bend minds, not pipes!” 

“Most people don’t think of design as a scaling vector.”

“It’s not a technology.  It’s a bloody design method.”

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