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    Flight Path : Stable Descent : Fully Inflated Canopy  
Design Criteria

After exploring a problem for a while, good designers will often establish their own design criteria that their preferred version of the product must meet. These criteria will still meet the constraints and specifications of the challenge, but focus attention on specific product performances the designer has determined are most important.

For instance, most students focus on the time of descent when they start the parachute challenge. However, by focusing on the clock, they miss observing how the parachute performs, which can inform what needs changing more than the time it takes for a chute to hit the floor. Here are other design criteria that be noted:

  • Flight Path - Does your model parachute go straight down, at an angle, or oscillate while descending? Minimizing or avoiding oscillating is better.
  • Stable Descent – Does the canopy remain balanced during descent, or does it lean to one side, oscillate? Does it flip over while descending? The canopy should be stable during descent, and not oscillate.
  • Fully Inflated Canopy – Does the canopy remain fully inflated, or does it sometimes partial or fully collapse? Once inflated, the chute should stay inflated. Chutes that are large and do not carry much of a load often do not fully inflate.
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