Chapter1 - Introduction 1.1 Introduction and synopsis...

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Introduction 1 .1 Introduction and synopsis ‘Design’ is one of those words that means all things to all people. Every manufactured thing, from the most lyrical of ladies’ hats to the greasiest of gearboxes, qualifies, in some sense or other, as a design. It can mean yet more. Nature, to some is Divine Design; to others it is design by Natural Selection, the ultimate genetic algorithm. The reader will agree that it is necessary to narrow the field, at least a little. This book is about mechanical design, and the role of materials in it. Mechanical components have mass; they carry loads; they conduct heat and electricity; they are exposed to wear and to corrosive environments; they are made of one or more materials; they have shape; and they must be manufactured (Figure 1.1). The book describes how these activities are related. Materials have limited design since man first made clothes, built shelters and waged wars. They still do. But materials and processes to shape them are developing faster now than at any previous time in history; the challenges and opportunities they present are greater than ever before. The book develops a strategy for exploiting materials in design. 1.2 Materials in design Design is the process of translating a new idea or a market need into the detailed information from which a product can be manufactured. Each of its stages requires decisions about the materials from which the product is to be made and the process for making it. Normally, the choice of material is dictated by the design. But sometimes it is the other way round: the new product, or the evolution of the existing one, was suggested or made possible by the new material. The number of materials available to the engineer is vast: something between 40 000 and 80 000 are at his or her (from here on ‘his’ means both) disposal. And although standardization strives to reduce the number, the continuing appearance of new materials with novel, exploitable, properties expands the options further. How, then, does the engineer choose, from this vast menu, the material best suited to his purpose? Must he rely on experience? Or can a systematic procedure be formulated for making a rational choice? The question has to be answered at a number of levels, corresponding to the stage the design has reached. At the beginning the design is fluid and the options are wide; all materials must be considered. As the design becomes more focused and takes shape, the selection criteria sharpen and the shortlist of materials which can satisfy them narrows. Then more accurate data are required (although for a lesser number of materials) and a different way of analysing the choice must be used. In the final stages of design, precise data are needed, but for still fewer materials - perhaps only one. The procedure must recognize the initial richness of choice, narrow this to a small subset, and provide the precision and detail on which final design calculations can be based.
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This note was uploaded on 04/26/2008 for the course M&AE 212 taught by Professor Miller during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Chapter1 - Introduction 1.1 Introduction and synopsis...

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