HomeProduct DesignMethodologiesBest 40 TRIZ Principles to Boost Your Design Challenges

Best 40 TRIZ Principles to Boost Your Design Challenges

For product design engineers. The 40 TRIZ Principles are the solutions to solve the “TRIZ contradictions” in product design problem-solving or to highlight other approaches during your product design brainstorming sessions.

kick ass challenges

This article focuses on the 40 triz principles to be used with or without the TRIZ methodology. Refer to TRIZ methods, tips, and tools at the end of this article.

The 40 TRIZ Principles

As these are translations from Russian -that may vary from book to book-, we have taken the most commonly used terminology, and we have regrouped the triz principles by family.

Note: we added complementary principles and technologies in the following chapter.

Highlighted in green: principles of high interest & frequent usage in Product Design

Different Assembly

This family regroups all means of assembling the components or parts differently. Clearly to be applied during the design choices.

   examplesour comments
#1SegmentationDivide an object into independent partsTRIZ - 01 SegmentationGood to solve a tech problem or source a component of the shelf, but may lead to complexity & additional costs
#2Taking outSeparate an interfering part or property from an object, or single out the only necessary part or property of an objectTRIZ - 02 Taking Outcan be very effective, but product intent must be clear to eventually cut into the product specs
#4AsymmetryDo not apply force or loads in a uniform or even wayTRIZ - 04 AsymmetryApplied locally frequently permits to reduce of the power and lean the structure (min exception and fatigue)
#5MergingRegroups smaller parts or components to achieve the main goalTRIZ - 05 MergingDepends on context and volume: a dedicated part or component could be more cost and material effective
#7NestingDo you remember the “Matrioshka“, the Russian nested wood-carved dolls?TRIZ - 07 NestingModularity, a gain in storage, transport, product variants
#27IntermediaryAdd an intermediate part or function in the assemblyTRIZ - 24 IntermediaryNot the leanest approach. Is that the only solution?

Adapt To Users or Context

This category regroups all means of changing the product or the system relative to its environment. Mostly at the specification phase rather than later at the design board.

   examplesour comments


Local qualityadapt the level of quality to the strict required, and only at the required placeTRIZ - 03 Local Quality“Overprocessing” in the 7 wastes of Lean mindset, but for the Design Phase
#6UniversalityGive other usages to an existing part or productTRIZ - 06 Universality

Open new markets at very low effort and environmentally friendly. Not exactly to solve a design issue, but upstream.

#22Benefit From HarmBy lowering, adding, or increasing the harmful factor, make it a beneficial or secondary functionTRIZ - 22 Benefit from Harm 
#23FeedbackAdapt actuator to effectively required parameter; control loopTRIZ - 23 FeedbackSelf-leveling & without user intervention.
#25Self-serviceHave the part or product perform other functions, regenerate itself, or produce usable wastes.TRIZ - 25 Self ServicingWhen possible, a nice way of value added
#26CopyingReplace complex and costly components with cheap light and simple copies, or work on an image rather than the costly object itselfTRIZ - 26 Copying(the essence of value Analyses in case you were not using that already)
#27ConsumablesReplace something strong and costly with consumable parts or componentsTRIZ - 27 Consumablesmind the wastes, environment, and new regulations. Other Lean approaches exist

Forms Follow Functions

One of the motos of this site. Read the corresponding post on Forms Follow Functions (fff): regroups all mean that change the shape or space. Usually, the simplest, most reliable, and most cost-effective solutions.

   examplesour comments
#8Anti-weightUse the weight to lower other actuatorsTRIZ - 08 Anti-weighttypically the counterweight in an elevator
#14Spheroidality, CurvatureMake is roundTRIZ - 14 Spheroidality Curvatures 
#17Another dimensionmade 2D what is 1D, and 3D what is 2DTRIZ - 17 Another DimensionPermits opportunities (gaps, spaces) in the solving
#30Thin and FlexibleMake heavy structures thin, and eventually flexible if movement is neededTRIZ - 30 Thin and FlexibleSee the plastic tricks design library for molded hinges or thin walls

Time Is The Essence

Family regrouping all TRIZ principles function related to time and new sequence.

Because not visible on the drawing board, solving a technical challenge with a new timed sequence can be overlooked

… but beware of not degrading the user experience with longer or additional steps

   examplesour comments
#9Preliminary anti-actionAnticipate the harm with a counteractionTRIZ - 09 Preliminary Anti-actionex: preload of concrete beams, before the load itself
#10Preliminary actionPerform in advance the requirement or change or prepare in advanceTRIZ - 10 Preliminary action 
#11Beforehand cushioning“Prevent rather than cure” before too lateTRIZ - 11 Beforehand CushionningQuality, Lean (…) but for design here
#13The other way roundInvert the physical principle or the parts relative to each otherTRIZ - 13 The other way roundex: on a Peltier module, cool one side instead of heating the other
#20Continuity of useful actionDo not stop the process or movementTRIZ - 20 Continuity of useful actionlimit operations and WIP & uses inertia
#21Rushing ThroughPerform the action quickTRIZ - 21 Rushing ThroughSame logic as applying the force not evenly listed earlier, but on time, to limit the effort, energy, or risk
#34Discarding and recoveringUse, dispose or reuse at a later timeTRIZ - 34 Discarding and RecoveringEnvironment and production friendly

Physical Properties

TRIZ Principles which are related to either mechanical, physical, or chemical properties of the materials or the environment.

   examplesour comments
#12EquipotentialityTo conserve energy, limit position changes in a potential fieldTRIZ - 12 Equipotentiallitydo not move metal in a magnetic field, or raise parts in a gravity field
#15DynamicsMake parts or components move relative to each otherTRIZ - 15 Dynamics 
#16Partial or excessive actionReduce or increase slightly some specs to reach the conform zone TRIZ - 16 Excessive or partial ActionPareto: 20% makes the 80%. Or is 95% enough?
#18Mechanical vibrationUse vibrations rather than big movementsTRIZ - 18 Mechanical vibrationpermits very local effect, usually more energy efficient
#19Periodic actionReplace continuous linear actuators with rotary, pulsating, or repetitive meansTRIZ - 19 Periodical actionlink to the previous, depending on the magnitude
#28Mechanics substitutionReplace Mechanics with magnet or electromagnetismTRIZ - 28 Mech SubstitutionRefer to our Design with Magnets post
#29Pneumatics and hydraulicsReplace Mechanics with Hydraulics systemTRIZ - 29 Pneumatics Hydraulicssome constraints, but worth every cent when adaptative, flexible, or long distances
#31Porous materialsDesign with porous materials (or increase micro or macro porosity)TRIZ - 31 Porous MeterialsLighter. 3D CAD & metal powder sintering helps these days
#32Color change

Change the color, or transparency to ease the process.

Indicate information by a color change.

TRIZ - 32 Colour Changemany special inks or materials are available, for pressure, temperature, density, humidity (…) indication
#33HomogeneityTwo interacting parts should have the same or similar materialsTRIZ - 33 Homogeneity… and if fixed, be the same part!
#35Material Properties changesuse change of material properties: physical state change, strength, rigidity, texture, flexibility …TRIZ - 35 Material properties change(color, length in other principles)
#36Phases transitionuse phase transition consequences: heat absorption or generation, volume change, transparency change …TRIZ - 36 Phase Transition 
#37Thermal expansionUse material thermal expansion (or contraction) to apply a forceTRIZ - 37 Thermal ExpansionFixed or temporary assemblies. Use bimetals also
#38Strong oxidantsO2 or O3 enriched atmosphereTRIZ - 38 Strong OxydantsMind the flammability & corrosivity aspects
#39Inert atmosphereO2 or O3 lowered atmospheres to freeze some chemical reactionsTRIZ - 39 Inert AtmosphereOpposite of previous; refer to the Triangle of Fire
#40Composite materialsUse composite materialsTRIZ - 40 Composite MaterialsLighter. Well-known these days, but mind aging and process repeatability

Complementary Innovation.world Principles

We felt these complementary principles or technologies were missing in the original 40 TRIZ principles list:

Energy Impact
Energy Impact
      • standardize: both within your production tools and your range of products, but also use OEM and of-the-shelf components (this can hardly be the outcome principle of any patent research, the root of the TRIZ methodology)
      • solidified gas or liquid: example: pick-and-place using frozen humidity from the air to pick small components. Some commonalities with #35-Material Properties changes
      • impact: to get sudden energy peaks only when needed, rather than increasing the average power (ex: mechanical teeth or roller extractor). Some commonalities with #21-Rushing Through
      • nonnewtonian fluids: liquid when still, gets hard when getting energy, stroke, or movement. Used already in the forage industry. With some similarity to the end effect, it can also be a metal powder that solidifies when exposed to a magnetic field as in ferrofluids.
      • capillarity: to raise the liquid higher or suck or make visible or mix liquids
      • osmosis and inverted osmosis: through a porous membrane to separate ultra-fine elements
      • additive materials: various 3D printing technologies, from resins and melted plastics to sintered metal powders
      • magnets: not only the electromagnetism mentioned in the list; see the design with magnets dedicated article
      • springs, either linear or concentric. To dump movements or energy peaks, but also to store energy and give it back at a later time (one of the TRIZ contradiction solutions: “separate in time”)

Resources of interest for TRIZ Principles

There are plenty of videos on the TRIZ principles, but in this one, Karen Gadd explains the concepts, the real aim, and the context, rather than listing the 40 principles. Check

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A presentation with original illustrations for each of the 40 principles:

Full-Size TRIZ Principles Cheat Sheet

40 principles of TRIZ Illustrations
40 principles of TRIZ Illustrations
All illustrations above were taken from the great Triz principles cheat sheet on the right, here in super high resolution if you click/save, ready to be printed for your brainstorming room.
These TRIZ principles illustration sketches above, as the full-size cheat-cheat are copyrighted by FotoSceptyk, available on Wikipedia, and distributed under CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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