Substance field analysis and biological functions

Yael Helfman Cohen, Yoram Reich, Sara Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Various efforts have been done so far to develop ontology for engineering functions in order to support functional modeling in design processes. The efforts focused on identifying a minimal set of functions that did not overlap and yet encompass the space of designed products. In this study, we use Substance Field analysis of biological systems acting in various fields and environments to define an ontology for biological functions. Comparing our ontology for biological functions, derived from the Su-Field analysis, to other ontologies for engineering functions reveals similarity and suggests an efficient generalization of system function ontologies. The process of the Su-Field analysis is provided together with examples and demonstrations. The implication of the results for functional modeling design in general and for biomimetic design in particular is further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-376
Number of pages5
JournalProcedia Engineering
StatePublished - 2015
EventWorld Conference: TRIZ FUTURE 2011-2014 - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 29 Oct 201431 Oct 2014


  • Biomimetic design
  • Functional modeling
  • Generic functions
  • Ontology of functions
  • Substance-field analysis


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