Towards a Digital Knowledge Base of Circular Design Examples through Product Teardowns

Ye Wang, Arthur Harsuvanakit, Tyler Mincey, Mauro Cordella

Life Cycle Engineering
2022

Abstract

Design of more circular products is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. However, many designers lack the knowledge and confidence to bring aspects of circular design into their design practices. One problem is the lack of examples on how circular design is implemented in different types of products and their components. In this work, we present a framework to generate a digital knowledge base of circular design examples from product teardowns (product dissections). Leveraging teardowns, a commonly practiced activity among product designers, can allow the knowledge base to include rich and up-to-date design examples and help inspire future design. The knowledge base covers three categories of circular design aspects: reliability, RRU (repair, reuse, upgrade), and recycling. Under each aspect, we generate a comprehensive list of prompts to guide designers to analyze the product and collect circular design examples. A subset of prompts is showcased in a study of a newly released laptop. We also gathered feedback and suggestions for future developments from experienced design practitioners.

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