Understanding Why Designs Work — or Don’t — is Important

September 4, 2018

Just because a design works once doesn’t mean that the research and development is done.

That’s why, Professor Sarah Kurtz argues in a new commentary in the prestigious journal Nature Energy , it’s important to do the quality assurance science that shows why products sometimes don’t work.

“If people want to take their science to the next level, they need to think about the implications of what happens when their innovations go into production,” Kurtz said. “What comes off the manufacturing line isn’t always going to work the way it is meant to.”

She cited a high-profile example of the problems that arose when quality assurance failed the Samsung company and it had to recall Galaxy smartphones because the batteries overheated, caused small fires and even exploded in some cases.

“This is an extreme example of how inadequate quality assurance can harm both the public and the company. Fortunately, the phones didn’t cause any deaths, but they did cause multiple hospitalizations,” Kurtz wrote. “Further, Samsung estimated in 2016 that the recall would cost them over $5 billion, while updated estimates are closer to $17 billion.”

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Graduate Funding:
Phone: (209) 228-4622
Mailing Address:
University of California, Merced
ATTN: Graduate Division
5200 N. Lake Road, Ste KL 227
Merced, CA 95343


The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California
Go to top