V. Ryan 2013



Materials research is very important. An understanding of the properties and uses of materials, will help a designer during almost every stage of the design process and especially during the development section.

Initial research can be carried out by a general investigation of materials. A sample can be viewed by clicking on the link below.
Materials research - Introductory Page
Materials testing is a very important aspect of research. When designing a product, an understanding of the properties of materials will help determine if a material is suitable for the manufacture of a product, including any product you are designing.

At some point, there will be a need to test materials yourself, or you may need to rely on the data produced by researchers.

Below are a range of simple material tests, that can be carried out in a school workshop
After the basic internet and general research is completed, a number of materials can be identified for possible use. These materials must now be tested by the designer in a workshop. Any number of tests can be carried out. However, the following simple tests will give plenty of genuine research results:
How well does the material cut and shape with a fretsaw?
How easy is the material to cut with a coping saw?
How easy is the material to drill and countersink?
What happens to the surface of the material when it is centre punched? How much damage?
How does the edge of each piece of material finish/smooth with glasspaper or wet and dry paper?
How does the edge of each piece of material finish/smooth with a file?
The research / development sheets below is an example of how the results can be recorded:
It is important that for each test, a description of the result is written. This can include a comparison with other materials. Also, emphasise the result. See sample below;
After all the materials tests have been carried out, the test pieces are laid out on a sheet of card / paper.They are labelled and photographed. The photograph is then used, along with the materials testing and recording sheets as evidence that genuine tests have been carried out.