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Title: A creative process for material selection and technology coupling in product design
Author: Johnson, K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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In this thesis, a subset of materials and products have been considered - those of sports equipment. First the relevant information about each is explored and structured in a database. This information is presented in a standard profile - a description of the character of a material - or as a 'map' of the space of materials - a visualisation of material behaviour. Two-dimensional maps displaying pairs of technical properties of materials are well known. In multiple dimensions, a completely new technique is required, that of multi-dimensional scaling. This is a technique for revealing 'similarities' and relationships in complex data sets; the full attribute profile of a material is precisely such a set. Both two-dimensional and multi-dimensional maps are explored as tools for product design. For visualising similarities between lightweight structural products a second technique is required, that of mapping material properties (like elastic modulus and yield strength) with specific geometries (like second moment of area and section modulus). Here, these maps are used to compare similar functional elements in specific products and their relationship to material possibilities. The intention of this thesis is to develop an understanding of the interaction of materials and design (MAD). These interactions require new methods of selection which are then demonstrated in a set of design tools: one for material selection and a second for structured inspiration. For each, a database of materials is linked to one of products. With this process, two methods of material selection, based on the visualisation techniques described earlier, are integrated with those of analysis - selection by similarity and selection by synthesis. In selection by similarity, the set of possible material solutions is expanded by comparing materials based on technical or aesthetic attributes. In selection by synthesis, innovative material solutions are created by assembling elements from those that are found in existing products. The same database is manipulated by a digital viewer for structured inspiration - for this, a series of images of materials are presented to the designer in random order. The viewer provides a visual stimulus for material selection and the designer is immediately linked to the appropriate information if requested - selection by inspiration. The MAD process of material selection requires the creative combination of each of these methods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available