The Design Axioms proposed by N. P. Suh consist of Independence Axiom and Information Axiom. The Independence Axiom assists a designer in generating good design alternatives by considering the relations between the functions and the physical product using a hierarchical mapping procedure. The Information Axiom, which is related to the probability of achieving the given functional requirements, can be used as a criterion for the selection of the best solution among the proposed alternatives in the conceptual or preliminary design stage.

In the early stages of marine design, especially ship design, there exists a lot of uncertainty because of the size and complexity of a marine vehicle. The uncertainty often leads to a probabilistic approach rather than a deterministic approach. The ship designs are mostly routine design to change an existing design case a little. In this paper, the availability of the Design Axioms in this marine design field will be investigated through three examples.

In the conceptual design of a thruster, the Independence Axiom will be proven to be useful in examining the independence of functional requirements at each level of the decomposition process. In main engine selection example, the Information Axiom will be used for selecting the best solution among the given alternatives by estimating their respective information contents under the uncertain and ambiguous condition.

In the structural design, some difficulties arise in maintaining the independence of functional requirements in general because the number of design parameters is greater than that of functional requirements. Therefore, there is much trouble in generalizing the application of the Design Axioms for the structural design, especially for the preliminary design where the principal design parameters of a design object have to be determined after its shape fixed. This paper will try a generalized approach to the similarity-based design where it is important to select which parameters should be changed and in what order they should be changed. How to make use of the Design Axioms will be showed in a barge design example. However, a lot of research is needed for the generalized application of the Design Axioms for the structural design.

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