Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Applied sciences, Active disassembly, Design methodology, Product design, Productrecovery, Sustainable products


Azab, Ahmed




Closed loop product lifecycle requires product ease of disassembly. Active disassembly, which uses external triggers that remotely disassemble active joints purposefully impeded in a product, shows great potential. The objectives of this dissertation are: first, to fulfill the need for comprehensive sustainability assessment that justifies incorporating active disassembly in product design; and second, to provide a methodology that enables systematic design and innovation of active joints that provide active disassembly. These two objectives are accomplished by developing a framework equipped with methods and tools that guide the process of incorporating active disassembly in product design. At the first level of the framework, two assessment models are developed: The first model assesses the opportunity to reuse an end-of-life (EOL) product as a whole, while the second model assesses the opportunity to recover only portions of the EOF product as modules and parts. The proposed models are novel in terms of the logic they apply, comprehensiveness of factor they use, and their balanced consideration of the three bottom lines of sustainability. There is no known literature that encompasses an assessment model combining all of the above features. The second level of the proposed framework addresses the need for Active Disassembly, where active joint design methodology is developed. The methodology, equipped with several tools, helps product designers create and innovate active joints for products. The method is novel in its structure and its targeted design domain (the first dedicated method for active joints). The applicability of the developed assessment models is validated through two case studies. Results show that EOL decision is significantly improved over what is known in literature (46% - 86%); the first model shows a complete match with industrial practice, while the second model shows a near complete match (i.e.: out of 10 assessed items, 9 are correctly assessed). Two other case studies validate the design methodology. The implementation demonstrates the effectiveness of the method: A new active joint is invented while the other two improved variants of an existing joint are obtained using the method. The results of this research also demonstrated that active disassembly helps close the loop in product life cycle and ultimately contribute to sustainable development.