Although wood/fibre materials are barely mentioned, the significant data for metals, plastics and composites are presented with the support of an impressive array of charts (maps), diagrams and colour photographs. Materials and Design is product-focused and an excellent introduction to the science of materials. Materials: is more "scientific" in approach but uses design-led methodology and ample illustrations throughout.
"[Material engineers generate] new developments in materials and processes that are sources of inspiration for product designers; for example, the ability to colour and mould polymers to make bright, transclucent shapes; the co-moulding of elastomers to give soft tactile surfaces; surface coatings that reflect, refract or diffuse light; carbon fibre composites that allow exceptionally slender stuctures; and more." (1)
By studying the internal structure of materials, scientists learn how the physical behaviour of materials is affected by their atomic arrangements. The electron bonding of atoms in the molecule of one material or the relationship between atoms in a composite material will determine specific attributes such as strength, density, hardness, transparency and even cost (see chart below).
Following a format used throughout both books, the chart above shows bending strength and cost for common furniture materials. Presenting data visually in a quasi-three-dimensional pattern reveals relationships that would be hard to comprehend in a traditional table format. The maps were generated with CES software from Granta Design, a CD-ROM package that allows every aspect of material selection (including eco-factors) to be interactively manipulated.
Not content with only explaining property data, Materials and Design helps answer the question "how do I shape this material" by classifying processes as shaping, joining and surface. Almost unique in a materials science text, a one-page summary (including description, design/technical notes, cost, eco-factors, etc.) of manufacturing, assembly and finishing technologies is provided for each material.
(1) Materials and Design, page 2
(2) Chart data courtesy of Granta Design
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