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 as 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 (FAD) which was already in use by line engineers. The capability to generate and edit these diagrams was implemented in the Decision Rationale editor (DRed) a software tool for capturing design rationale. This article presents the main beneficial characteristics of the method and justifies them using two engineering case studies. The results of the research have shown that the FAD method has a simple notation, permits the modeling of product functions together with structure, allows the production of rich and accurate descriptions of product functionality and is suitable to represent complex problems.

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