Answer to essential questions from Unit 4.1
  • Engineering design ethics means situations in which decisions you make are in conflict with what may or may not be morally correct. Sometimes an engineer may design something intended for good, but people want to use it for a bad thing.
  • Ethics is a set of moral principles or values; a theory or system of moral values, or the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
  • It is important to understand ethics and how it relates to product design because like design, moral choice often involves alternative permissible solutions to dilemmas.
  • It is important to study a product’s lifecycle because an inventor/designer can learn much from studying a product. They can learn what mistakes to avoid and what processes to test. One can also learn from a product and its mistakes how to make a product that will be safe and effective for both humans and nature.
  • Factors that influence the selection of materials to make a product are: ergonomics, customer requirements, industrial production, aesthetics, fashion, culture, functions, and environment.
    • When I hear the word impact I think of an influence or large scale effect on something like the impact of Sir Isaac Newton’s ideas on physics in modern day.
    • A manufacturing process can impact an environment because in manufacturing (often in Industry such as the coal Industry) factories give off chemicals that pollute the environment eventually destroying an ecosystem and even killing animals in that ecosystem. In some cases an area can become extremely polluted, due to chemicals, and are too dangerous to live in. Nuclear plants, especially, can destroy environments and even kill people or workers. Some manufactured products such as CFCs in the 1970s, actually destroyed the Ozone layer in our stratosphere.
    • Ethics impact the production of products because when people know what is right for the environment and others they will produce products that will be safe and right for the environment. Ethics is what causes companies and people to recycle and create recyclable and environmentally safe products.
    • Global and human impacts that must be considered by all involved with the design, manufacture and distribution of products are: pollution, the destruction of ecosystems, the failures of past environments, the problems with factories, smoke, coal, et cetera, endangered species, garbage problems, and so on.
    • It is important to have clear, accurate, and detailed communication among all involved in the design, manufacture and distribution process because in order to correct problems among society and the environment one must understand the causes and how to fix problems. In order to create a product that is both safe and effective one must know all aspects, both the negative and the positive. A small misunderstood bit of information, such as the CFCs in the 1970s, could destroy an entire ecosystem.
    • Laws that exist in the United States to protect humans and the environment are the EPA Guidelines and the OSHA Guidelines. The EPA works to develop and enforce regulations that implement environmental laws enacted by Congress. OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.


Continue to 4.2 Journal