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MATERIALS RESEARCH

AN INTRODUCTION

V. Ryan © 2001-2010

   

All projects involve the use of materials whether they are electronic components or resistant materials OR a combination of both. The information on the following sheets is useful as a reference only. You should never copy large ‘chunks’ of text straight into your projects. You should emphasise the materials you think will be useful for your project and all information must be in your own words.

One of the best ways to collect research on materials is to carry out tests / experiments that will reflect their use in your project. Remember to add notes explaining your findings and even add drawings which represent the tests.

 

For example, if your know that the materials required for your project will need to be hardwearing, devise a test and try out several possible materials. You could ‘file’ a range of materials and mark / grade each of then according to their resistance.

You could devise tests for ‘waterproof’ properties - ‘impact resistance’ - ‘flexibility’ - ‘rigidity’ - and many more. (Click here for Definitions of Properties of Materials)

 

PDF FILE - CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE EXERCISE BASED ON RICH PICTURE BELOW

The rich picture below shows the wide range of facts and issues relating to materials research that need to be considered when designing a product. This type of presentation could be the first page of materials research for your design project. It clearly shows that you have an understanding of facts and issues relating to materials.

   

CLICK ON THE PICTURES OF MATERIALS BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION

   

MANMADE BOARDS

NATURAL WOODS

METALS

PLASTICS

       

SMART MATERIALS

POLYMORPH - SHAPING BY HAND

SMART MATERIALS

POLYMORPH - USING A MOULD

SMART MATERIALS

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS

PAGE 1

SMART MATERIALS

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS

PAGE 2

       
 

 
 

Click here for Natural Woods in Detail

 
 

 

 

 

       
   
CLICK HERE FOR MATERIALS KNOWLEDGE EXERCISE
   

FURTHER INFORMATION

   

Research into the type of materials to use for your project is very important. Without a knowledge of materials and how they can be machined, cut and shaped, it will be very difficult to select the right material for your product / design. When you know a little about a variety of materials you will be able to decide for yourself, which materials best suit the type of product your are wanting to design and manufacture. You can research materials by using the internet, looking in books, especially Design Technology books. However, the best way is experimenting with a selection of materials in the workshop.

Two sample materials research sheets are shown below. They include research on a range of woods, metals  and plastics.
1. Clearly identify the type of materials you are researching on the sheet. The example shown below clearly shows that woods and metals have been researched. A following sheet  includes metals and plastics.
2. Always label the material clearly and if abbreviations such as MDF are mentioned, also include the full name (ie. Medium Density fibre Board)
3. Explain the main properties of each material. For example, is it tough ? is it flexible ? Does it come in a range of colours ? Is it easy to cut and shape ? etc....
4. Include technical terms such as ductility, toughness, hardness, malleability, plasticity, elasticity, strength, and conductivity.
5. It is very important to state whether or not the material is suitable for your project. Do not just list facts about the material, you must always mention suitability for your design / product. Use terms such as; it is suitable for my project, may be considered for use in my project, probably not suitable etc..... and say why it is either suitable or not.
6. Select a range of materials from metals, woods, plastics, textiles, paper/card and any others such as glass, rubber and modelling materials etc...
7. On each research page write a summary of the information you have presented. See the example below.
8. Do not forget that you need to make a model / prototype before manufacturing the real product. You may need to research a range of modelling materials such as styrofoam or foam board.
9. Look around you. What materials do you like the look and feel of ?
   
 

 

   
 
PDF FILE - CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE MATERIALS RESEARCH SHEETS
 
   
 
   
   

SUMMARY

GUIDELINES:
1. Never copy straight from text books.
2. When you mention a material also refer to your project.
3. Do not download large ‘chunks’ of writing from the internet
and then simply paste on to your research sheets.
4. Use drawings, pictures and photographs to illustrate your research.
5. State clearly why you are going to consider using a material
or why you cannot use it.
6. Try to find out the cost of materials as part of your materials research.

   
CLICK HERE FOR ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT TO A MATERIALS RESEARCH SHEET
   

CLICK HERE FOR MORE EXAMPLE MATERIALS RESEARCH SHEETS

   
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