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Dr. Jonathan R.A. Maier

Dr. Jonathan R.A. Maier Senior Lecturer
Digital and Special Classes Coordinator

General Engineering
110 Holtzendorff Hall, Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634

Phone: (864) 656-2542


  • Ph.D., Clemson University, 2005, Mechanical Engineering
  • M.S., Clemson University, 2000, Mechanical Engineering
  • B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1999, Mechanical Engineering

Certifications & Licenses

  • Certified Solidworks Associate
  • FCC Radiotelephone (Broadcast) Permit
  • SC General Contractor, class 4

Courses Taught

  • ENGR 1050/1060 - (regular and Honors) - Introduction to engineering, problem solving, analysis using Excel
  • ENGR 1070/1080/1090 - Engineering problem solving using Matlab
  • ENGR 1410/1411 - (regular and Honors) - Engineering problem solving using Matlab
  • ENGR 1900/2900 - Creative Inquiry research
  • ENGR 2080 - Engineering graphics using Solidworks
  • ENGR 2210 / HON 2060 - History of design and technology

Professional Activities

  • Faculty advisor for "Lose the Shoes" - a student group that organizes a barefoot soccer tournament to raise money for needy children in Africa
  • Member, ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Member, PDMA - Product Development Management Association
  • Member, Sigma Xi - Scientific Research Society
  • Member, Pi Tau Sigma - Mechanical Engineering Honor Society
  • Frequent reviewer for journals and conferences including Design Studies, Research in Engineering Design, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, ASME Design Engineering and Technical Conferences (DETC), International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED)

Research interests

  • Design Theory and Methodology
  • Affordance Based Design
  • Product Family Design
  • Requirements Modeling
  • Product Innovation
  • Architectural Theory



  1. Maier, J.R.A. Affordance Based Design: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Applications, VDM Verlag, 2011.
  2. Co-editor with Drs. Lindeman, Fadel and Mr. Kreimeyer of the Proceedings of the 11th International DSM Conference, Greenville, October 2009.
  3. Chapter 6 “Understanding the Complexity of Design” in Complex Engineered Systems: Science meets Technology, Drs. Dan Braha, Ali Minai, Yaneer Bar-Yam Eds, pp 122-140, 2005

Refereed Journal Publications

  1. Maier, J.R.A. (2015) "On the Computability of Affordances as Relations", Artificial Intelligence in Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 29(3).
  2. Maier, J.R.A., Mears, L.M., Summers, J.D. (2013) "Design of an Apparatus to Detect Small Changes in the Mass of Rotational Machine Components", International Journal of Modern Engineering, 13(2):5-16. DOI: 2157-8052
  3. Maier, J.R.A., Troy, T., Johnston, J., Bobba, V., Summers, J.D. (2010) “Case Study Research Using Senior Design Projects: An Example Application”, Journal of Mechanical Design, 132(11). DOI 10.1114/1.4002291
  4. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., (2009) “Affordance Based Design Methods for Innovative Design, Redesign and Reverse Engineering”, Research in Engineering Design, 30(4): 393-414
  5. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., Battisto, D. (2009) “An Affordance Based Approach To Architectural Theory, Design And Practice” Design Studies. Vol. 30, pp 393-414
  6. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., (2008) “Affordance Based Design: A Relational Theory for Design”, Research in Engineering Design,  DOI 10.1007/s00163-008-0060-3
  7. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., (2007) “A Taxonomy And Decision Support For The Design And Manufacture Of Types Of Product Families”, Special issue on product family design, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Vol. 18, No. 1 pp 31-45
  8. Simpson, T.W., Maier, J.R.A., Mistree F. (2001). "Product Platform Design: Method and Application," Research in Engineering Design, 13(1): 2-22.

Conference Proceedings (reviewed)

  1. Braha, D., Brown, D.C., Chakrabarti, A., Dong, A., Gadel, G.M., Maier, J.R.A., Seering, W., Ullman, D.G., and Wood, K. (2013) “DTM at 25: Essays on Themes and Future Directions” ASME IDETC/DTM, Paper No. DETC2013-12280.
  2. McLellan, J.M., Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., Mocko, G.M. (2009) “A Method For Identifying Requirements Critical To Mass Reduction Using DSMs And DMMs”, 11th DSM Conference, Greenville, SC.
  3. McLellan, J.M., Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., Mocko, G.M. (2009) “Generating Design Structure Matrices And Domain Mapping Matrices Using SYSML”, 11th DSM Conference, Greenville, SC.
  4. Thomas, J.T., Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., Mocko, G.M. (2009) “Using DMMs To Relate Design For Assembly Rules To Human Interaction Guidelines” 11th DSM Conference, Greenville, SC.
  5. Maier, J.R.A., Sachs, R., Fadel, G.M. (2009) “A Comparative Study Of Quantitative Scales To Populate Affordance Structure Matrices” ASME IDETC/DTM, Paper No. DETC2009-86524.
  6. Maier, J.R.A., McLellan, J.M., Mocko, G., Fadel, G.M. (2009) “Lightweight Engineering Of Military Vehicles Through Requirements Analysis And Function Integration” ASME-IDETC, Paper No. DETC2009-86562.
  7. Maier, J.R.A., Mocko, G., Fadel, G.M. (2009) “Hierarchical Affordance Modeling” ICED ‘09, Paper No. 314.
  8. Maier, J.R.A., Sandel, J., Fadel, G.M. (2009) “Experiments Comparing Function Structures To Affordance Structures” ICED ‘09, Paper No. 321.
  9. Maier, J.R.A., Sandel, J., Fadel, G.M. (2008) “Extending The Affordance Structure Matrix – Mapping Design Structure And Requirements To Behavior”, 10th DSM Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.
  10. Mocko, G., Fadel, G.M., Summers, J.D., Maier, J.R.A., Ezhilan, T. (2007) “A Systematic Method For Modeling And Analyzing Conceptual Design Information” 9th DSM Conference, Munich, Germany.
  11. Maier, J.R.A., Ezhilan, T., Fadel, G.M. (2007) “The Affordance Structure Matrix – A Concept Exploration And Attention Directing Tool For Affordance Based Design” ASME IDETC/DTM, DETC2007-34526, Las Vegas, NV.
  12. Mocko, G., Summers, J., Fadel, G.M., Teegavarapu, S., Maier, J.R.A., Ezhilan, T. (2007) “A Modelling Scheme For Capturing And Analyzing Multi-Domain Design Information: A Hair Dryer Design Example” ICED’07, Paris, France.
  13. Maier, J.R.A., Ezhilan, T., Fadel, G.M., Summers, J.D., Mocko, G. (2007) “A Hierarchical Requirements Modeling Scheme To Support Engineering Innovation” ICED’07, Paris, France.
  14. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2007) “Identifying Affordances” ICED’07, Paris, France.
  15. Maier, J.R.A., Anandan, S., Bapat, V., Summers, J.D., Bettig B. (2007) "A Computational Framework for Semantically Rich Design Problems Based on the Theory of Affordance and Exemplar Technology" ICED'07, Paris France. Paper no. 510.
  16. Gaffney, E.S., Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2007) “Roles Of Function And Affordance In The Evolution Of Artifacts” ICED ’07, Paris, France.
  17. Motyka, M., Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M., “Representing The Complexity Of Engineering Systems: A Multidisciplinary Perceptual Approach”, International Conference on Complex Systems, Boston, MA.
  18. Maier, J.R.A., Troy, T., Johnston, J., Bobba, V., Summers, J.D. (2006) "A Case Study Documenting Specific Configurations and Information Exchanges in Designer-Artifact-User Complex Systems" International Conference on Complex Systems, Boston, MA.
  19. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2005) “A Case Study Contrasting German Systematic Engineering Design With Affordance Based Design” ASME DETC/DTM, Long Beach, CA. Paper No. DETC2005-84954.
  20. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2004) “Understanding The Complexity Of Design” International Conference On Complex Systems, Boston, MA.
  21. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2003) “On The Complexity Of The Design-Artifact-User System” Proceedings Of ICED 03, Stockholm, Sweden. Paper No. 1366.
  22. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2003) “Affordance-Based Methods For Design” ASME DETC/DTM, Chicago. Paper No. DETC2003/DTM48673
  23. Maier, J. R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2002) “Comparing Function And Affordance As Bases For Design” ASME DETC/DTM, Montreal, Canada, Paper No. DETC2002/DTM-34129.
  24. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2001) “Strategic Decisions In The Early Stages Of Product Family Design” ASME DETC, Pittsburgh, PA, Paper No. DETC01/DFM-21200.
  25. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2001) “Affordance, The Fundamental Concept In Engineering Design” ASME DETC, Pittsburgh, PA, Paper No. DETC01/DTM-21700.
  26. Simpson, T.W., Maier, J.R.A., Mistree, F. (1999) "A Product Platform Concept Exploration Method For Product Family Design" ASME DETC/DTM, Las Vegas, NV, Paper No. DETC99/DTM-8761.

Magazine Articles

  1. Maier, J.R.A. "Rethinking Design Theory," Mechanical Engineering, 130(9):34-37. September, 2008, ASME.
  2. Maier, J.R.A. “How Structure Influences Behavior,” General Systems Bulletin, Volume 35. 2006, ISSS.

Conference Proceedings (unreviewed)

  1. Maier, J.R.A. (2006). "Design and Evolution: Morphogenesis and Metamorphosis", Proceedings of the Design History Society Conference 2006, 31 August - 2 September 2006, TU Delft.
  2. Maier, J.R.A., Fadel, G.M. (2006) "Affordance Based Design: Status and Promise". Proceedings of IDRS'06, Seoul, South Korea.
  3. Maier, J.R.A. (2000). "Systems Intelligence: Theory and Application," International Society for the Systems Sciences 44th annual meeting, Toronto, Canada.

Fun Facts

  • Amateur Photographer
  • Animal Rescue Volunteer