Technical Contradictions Between Physical Contradictions

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.

Any solution comes at a price. Resolving existing contradictions always results in imposing new ones. Surprisingly TRIZ adherents do not understand this elementary fact. They always strive to resolve contradictions and do not notice that thereby create new contradictions. They never proceed with the analysis of which contradictions are worse - those which they resolved or those which they created.

Consider, for example, the article "Improving Lift/Pump Stations Using TRIZ" by Abram Teplitskiy, Igor Endovtsev and Roustem Kourmaev published in the May issue of the TRIZ-journal. The physical contradiction they focused on was this: there might be inflow of the waste water during emptying the collection container AND there should be no inflow in order to accurately measure the amount of wastewater contributed by a client.

The contradiction was resolved by introducing a two-chamber container. And immediately a technical contradiction emerged: the old system was inaccurate but cheap and compact whereas the new system is accurate but more expensive and larger. (I explain as follows: suppose that collection container has to be at least size X in order to not overflow between pumpings. Then the new double container has to be at least 2 times that size.) If resources permit, it does not immediately result in emerging a new physical contradiction. But if space is a scarce resource and/or we are short on money, then new physical contradictions pop up right away: the collection container has to be small and has to be big OR the collection container has to be cheap and has to be expensive. Thereby a technical contradiction between physical contradictions arises: resolving/mitigating one of them results in creating/exacerbating another one.

Such technical contradictions are not covered by the contemporary TRIZ. The contradiction matrix does not contain such contradictory parameters as various types of physical contradictions:

And 40 Principles are powerless in resolving technical contradictions between physical contradictions.

Filling this gap is a promising area of research in TRIZ.