chap21-c - Chapter 21 Economic Environmental and Societal...

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Why Study Economic, Environmental, and Societal Issues in Materials Science and Engineering? It is essential for the engineer to know about and understand economic issues simply because the company/institution for which he/she works must realize a profit from the products it manufactures. Materials engineering decisions have economic con- sequences, with regard to both material and produc- tion costs. An awareness of environmental and societal is- sues is important for the engineer inasmuch as over time, greater demands are being made on the S-368 world’s natural resources. Furthermore, levels of pollution are ever increasing. Materials engineering decisions have impacts on the consumption of raw materials and energy, on the contamination of our water and atmosphere, and on the ability of the con- sumer to recycle or dispose of spent products. The quality of life for this and future generations will de- pend, to some degree, on how these issues are ad- dressed by the global engineering community. U sed aluminum beverage cans that are to be recycled. These cans will be crushed and pressed into bales (shown in the background) and then shredded into small pieces. Ferrous and nonferrous metal contaminants are next elimi- nated, and the decorative coating is removed in a delacquering operation. A thermomechanical process then separates can bodies (alloy 3004) from the lids (alloy 5182). The final recy- cling stages include melting, re- fining, casting, and rolling. (Photograph courtesy Alcoa.) Chapter 21 / Economic, Environmental, and Societal Issues in Materials Science and Engineering
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S-369 21.1 I NTRODUCTION In previous chapters, we dealt with a variety of materials science and materials engineering issues to include criteria that may be employed in the materials selection process. Many of these selection criteria relate to material properties or property combinations—mechanical, electrical, thermal, corrosion, etc.; the performance of some component will depend on the properties of the material from which it is made. Processability or ease of fabrication of the component may also play a role in the selection process. Virtually the entirety of this book, in one way or another, has addressed these property and fabrication issues. In engineering practice there are other important criteria that must be consid- ered in the development of a marketable product. Some of these are economic in nature, which, to some degree, are unrelated to scientific principles and engineering practice, and yet are significant if a product is to be competitive in the commercial marketplace. Other criteria that should be addressed involve environmental and societal issues—i.e., pollution, disposal, recycling, energy, etc. This final chapter offers relatively brief overviews of economic, environmental, and societal considera- tions that are important in engineering practice. ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS
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chap21-c - Chapter 21 Economic Environmental and Societal...

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