M A T E R I A L   S C I E N C E  &  E N G I N E E R I N G      

Material Classes

Material Structure

Physical Properties

Material Selection

Ideal Material


Material Processing

Example Case Studies

Material Selection

In Material Science & Engineering, understanding the material selection process is vital to engineering any application and/or part design. Material selection is the foundation of all engineering applications. This selection process can be divided into four parts:

  • Requirements: What is the problem that the material is required to do? Answering this question is the foundation for the following material selection process. Requirements can be vague (it is a strong structure) to very specific (keep the structure strong only if...). For example: a table that is needed for study that is leveled at a slight angle and can hold a number a pounds.
  • Possible materials: Now knowing the problem, you need to know the playing field. There are materials that makes sense to use such as metals for the body frame of a car. Some others don't: you cannot use paper to build a bicycle. Much of your search depends on the required specifications to solve the problem. For example: we will need a certain kind of wood (A,B,C) and some nails (X,Y)
  • Physical principles: Being specialized in Material Science & Engineering, the knowledge of each physical principle of each material can lead to an understanding of its mechanical, electrical, thermal and optical properties. With the knowledge and the learned techniques to modify materials to change the material properties, you will reach the goal in satisfying the requirements. For example: make the wood more fire resistant and polished, create the nails to be more durable or long lasting.
  • Selection: Finally, it is common to find several materials other possible materials to best fulfill the requirements. This is where you decide. Other factors (such as time and money) would be introduced to help select the wisest choice. For example: we choose wood C because is has a nice shine and is fire resistant, nail Y is better than nail X even though X is more durable, it damages the wood over time.

To develop a better understanding of material selection refer to the Ideal Material, the Selection Process, and the Bicycle Materials Case Study.
Copyright © 2006 CES Information Guide - Materials Science Engineering