A holistic approach to materials selection in component design (NT TR 476)

  • Report #: NT TR 476
  • Approved: October 2001
  • Author(s): Bo Carlsson, Yrjö Virtanen, John Olav Nøkleby, Rolf Sandström
Size: 1.16 MB



A brief introduction into materials lifetime technology and industrial ecology in product development.

To meet the requirements on sufficient functional capability, service reliability and minimum environmental impact and cost in product component design, a total cost accounting approach to materials selection is described. Most appropriate product component design alternative as regards materials is the one with lowest total cost, the latter determined by the sum of production cost, cost associated with initial non-ideal function or performance, maintenance cost, possible cost of failures, end of life cost, and possible cost associated with ecological damage. To apply the total cost accounting approach requires the conduction of a systematic suitability analysis of potential component design alternatives by making use of methodologies from materials lifetime technology and industrial ecology. Although it may not be possible to estimate a cost for all terms contributing to the total cost of a specific component design alternative, the result of a total cost exercise may, despite that, form a good base for materials selection in component design. The main purpose with the suitability analysis is to achieve a framework for compiling and integrating all data on available materials and component properties, environmental stress characteristics of application, component reliability and materials degradation, environmental problems and ecological risks associated with the production, use and end-of-life of component, cost characteristics for production, for use and for end-of-life of component. The database resulting from a suitability analysis should therefore be of great value also in future product or component development. The report, which describes the holistic approach to material selection, can be seen as a brief introduction into materials lifetime technology and industrial ecology. It has been prepared mainly with the intention of serving as a guide for product design engineers, environmental engineers and materials experts involved in product and component development. Reviews are given in the report on methods and methodology for engineering products for environmental resistance, methods for prediction of service life and service reliability of components, methods for life-cycle assessment and various other design tools in the area of industrial ecology.