Looking At The Consideration Of Environmental Factors Construction Essay

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Chapter 1 Introduction

This project deals with materials selection and consideration of environmental factors that led to eco impact in the design of a product. In order to generate a friendly environment, we must use efficient energy, reduced emission generated by the product and consider product life cycle. The relationship between materials selection and eco-design are important as eco-design incorporates materials selection in order to reduce the environmental burdens of products(Bovea and Gallardo 2006)

When designing a product we incorporate analysis of environmental factors as early as possible on the tools that guide the design changes, so that we can study the change and assess the financial cost, moreover to see the greatest impact of the materials on the product.

Researched by previous author make emphasised that all materials selection involve more or less complications due to lack of reliable property data and unexpected stresses. A useful way is to place the requirements in order of precedence to get rid of the most unsuitable materials at an early Stage. The selection can be done manually or, if possible, a computer program for selection can be used.(Ljungberg and Y. 2003)

The project will be based on eco informed material selection for product design. It will cover how to reduce embodied energy, which is the key input to any eco tool. It also includes how to reduce energy consumption and emission dissipated to the atmosphere; a major concern which is the cause of global changes. The project also covers how to minimise the cost of materials, relative to substituting or replacing the obsolete material of existing products, with alternative material that is recyclable or biodegradable.

CES soft ware of Professor Michael Ashby is use for analysis materials selection in this project, the software provide quick and simple method to specify design objectives; incorporate Eco Audit Tool for eco design; new capabilities for cost analysis; materials selection options; and extended coverage on materials for medical devices among others, as we are going to use different materials in selected sector of application in this project.

The below figure shown materials properties chart, which is the core tool use in this project, it give an overview of the physical, mechanical and functional properties of materials, presenting the information about them in a compact way. It also optimized selection of materials to meet a given design requirements, and it help understand the use of materials in materials in existing products. (Ashby M. et al 2007).

Figure 1 Material property chart

Sectors to be considered in the project will be those such as aerospace, automobile industries, medical devices, domestic appliances, civil engineering, architecture and other major areas will also be covered in the project. The main materials to focus on in the project are polymers; being that they are popular and are majorly used for varieties of product and component, however, we may decide also to focus on novel class of materials used in products from Irish companies to view their prospect in smart economy

1.1 Amendment

Sectors to be considered in the project will be those such as medical devices, domestic appliances, automobile industries, civil engineering, architecture, aerospace and other areas that are of significant important will also be considered. Use of varieties of materials for products and components are the main focus of the project however, we may decide also to focus on novel class of materials used in products from Irish companies to view their prospect in smart economy

1.2 Material Property Chart

Material property chart are use as a quick references guide in material selection, it is unique tools to compare and analyze properties and also to select materials and processes, they are of two type as they display in two different way, bar chart is used to a plot of value range of one property on materials and the second is bubble chart that can display two properties values this make bubble chart to provide more information than bar chart as each family of materials occupies a distinct and characteristic field, moreover more information can be showed when using functions of properties, grouping such as E/p or Hmp for axes of charts. (Ashby M. et al 2007).

The below figure showed young modulus, (E Stiffness) versus Density with Guild line for minimum mass design of E/p selection

Figure 2 Bubble chart of Young Modulus versus Density

The below figure show bar chart for young modulus, E is the mechanical property that measure stiffness of a materials, the length of each bar chart show the value range of each of the plotted materials

Figure 3 Bar Chart of Modulus reveals difference in Stiffness between the families

1.3 Eco Audit Tool

The analyses of eco audit tool are showed on below figure display approximate values for the energy consumed at each phase of life cycle for a range of products. It can be seen that the three top figures consumed more energy on the uses phases than the others while the bottom three figures significant display higher consumption of energy on the materials phase although they too require energy during the use phase of life but not as intensively as those of the upper row. Eco audit tool will enable us know the particular phase that have the largest impact of energy so that will can minimise it or find alternative solution. To achieve large change we need to target the phases that have the largest impact.

Figure 4 Energy Consumption of Products

Chapter 2 Project objectives

The objective of this project may be highlighted in bullet point format as follows;

To create an understanding of optimization in material selection and how it may be applied in innovative technologies

Selection of proper materials to suit the environment

To minimize energy consumption and emission

To minimize the cost of the materials

Substitute materials of an existing product/component so as to achieve more eco friendly solution

Replacement of polymer materials that cannot be recycled with degradable or recyclable materials

To utilize eco audit tool for industrially relevant products and component

2.1 Amendment

Replacement of materials that cannot be recycled with degradable or recyclable materials

Chapter 3 Literature Review

3.1 Material selection

During the previous decades many new materials and material types have been developed. At present of the order of 100 000 engineering materials exist (Sandström 2006) with more materials than ever before, the opportunities for innovation are great, the designer will select from this vast menu, the few best suited to his task.

Material selection is a step in the process of designing any physical object in the context of product selection. The main goal of material selection is to minimize cost while meeting product performance goals. For an efficient materials selecting process, the content and presentation of information about materials should be accustomed to product designer's approaches and needs (van Kesteren 2008).

A lot of considerations are put in order for material selection; designers establish the set of the required properties and seek the materials, by comparing the properties across all the classes. Charts are consulted to find the materials which offer the best match. These are evaluated for the ability to perform the function; the material that maximizes the performance is selected. During the evaluation the material constraints are analyzed in detail: properties which are necessary may not be sufficient to assure the products good performance. Materials have their own strengths and limitations, which the designer must be aware. (Matos, J. et al. 2006)

The target for material selection in this project is to reduce cost, minimize emission and energy consumption to the benefit of environment. This numerous engineering materials are classified into six broad families as shown in the figure below by M.F. Ashby. (2009)

Figure 5 Classes of engineering materials

The members of each family in the figure above have certain features in common: similar properties, processing routes and applications. The choice of materials takes on strategic importance in design aimed at harmonising the performance characteristics and eco-compatibility of products in line with the Life-Cycle Design approach. (Giudice, La Rosa et al. 2005)

With the introduction of green initiative, eco friendly materials are prioritised in the process of materials selection and manufacture with the intension to eliminate the hazard associated with the release of emission and energy consumption that accumulated in the atmosphere and cause green house gas; carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are all long lived greenhouse gases, moreover Kyoto protocol treaty were adopted by major countries in Europe. It set binding targets for 37 countries and European community that have sign it, committing them to reduce green house gas emission over the five year period 2008 -2012.(Ashby M.F. 2009)

3.2 Product life cycle

A life cycle is the journey that a material goes through during its entire life. Every material starts from raw form. It is then processed and made into a finished product. At some point the material reaches the end of its life and is disposed of. The typical stages of the life cycle of any material from its birth (production) to its death (disposal) would look something like the diagram below. (Eric Corey Freed 2008)


Figure 6 Life cycle of any product

Product life cycle is in phases, the first phase is production, which is the birth of the raw material some are through extraction and synthesis. The second phase is usage where the material is been manufactured into a product for use and the last phase is the end of life of the material which leads to disposal in landfill or recyclability.

Michael Ashby emphases that product life cycle are in phases and all the phases consume energy and generate emission to the atmosphere.

Figure 7 Product life cycle

3.3 Environmental Impact of Materials

The optimal choice of material in relation to environmental demands requires a complete environmental characterisation, with particular regard to the following aspects:

• Environmental impact associated with production processes such as energy costs and overall impact;

• Environmental impact associated with phases of end of-life such as recycling or disposal;

• Suitability for recycling (expressed by the recyclable fraction).

Information on the energy costs and recyclable fractions of more common materials can be obtained from databases, such as that of the CES materials selection software of Professor Michael Ashby.

Giudice said that Products environmental impact is directly influenced by the environmental properties of the materials used, such as energy costs, emissions involved in production and manufacturing phases and recyclability. For the designer to make an optimal choice of materials, harmonising performance characteristics and properties of eco-compatibility, the selection process must take account of a wide range of factors: constraints of shape and dimension, required performance, technological and economic constraints associated with the manufacturability of materials and environmental impact of all the phases of the life-cycle. (Giudice F, et al 2005)

One way in which manufacturing industry can reduce the impact it has on the environment is for it to adopt eco-efficiency approaches by creating more value with less impact, the process is to adopt a simple metrics of environmental stress with the use of energy or carbon dioxide footprint as a logical choice. Distinguish the phase of life that has the largest impact, the total life demand of a product to material creation, product manufacture, transport, product use and disposal. Then base the subsequent action on the energy or carbon breakdown, for example if material production is the dominant phase you have to choose material with low embodies energy and minimize the amount that are used.(Ashby M.F. 2009)

Eco-efficiency is a goal for society at large. It is recommended by intergovernmental organizations and adopted by various countries as their most promising policy concept for moving toward sustainable development. (wbcsd.org 2000)

In recognizing the problem of global warming cause, two UN agencies, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not really conduct independent research, rather it convenes climate experts from around the world every five to seven years in order to synthesize the latest climate research findings in peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.( pewclimate.org/global-warming)

Life cycle assessment and regulation like ISO 14000 are setup for the management of environmental impact. The major objective of the ISO 14000 series of norms is "to promote more effective and efficient environmental management in organizations and to provide useful and usable tools - ones that are cost effective, system-based, flexible and reflect the best organizations and the best organizational practices available for gathering, interpreting and communicating environmentally relevant information".(iso.org) In a nut shell the objective is to minimizing the impact of material production, use and disposal on the environment in which we live.

Figure 8 The embodied energy per unit mass of materials

Figure 9 The embodied energy per unit volume of materials.

3.4 Eco Audit Tool

Eco Audit Tool helps to indentify key concepts in eco design and aids project work to analyze the environmental impact of products.  It provides a quick and interesting way to investigate different analysis of material selection. Many innovative eco-design tools are applied during the product realization process to identify areas for improvement of future products, and to verify that each generation of existing products is more sustainable than its predecessor. These eco-design tools include eco-road mapping, design for environment guidelines and checklists, and lifecycle assessment(Donnelly, Kathleen et al. 2006).

Donnelly further stated that by implementing environmentally responsible characteristics through eco-design programs, employees, customers, and the world community would benefit from a consistent approach to the environmental management of wireless hardware products. Quick decision making are easy and accurate with the use of eco audit tool, the phases with highest eco impact are highlighted for justification, the below figure shown the CES eco audit tool.

Figure 10 Eco Audit Tool

Eco audit tool allows the user to identify which life phases dominate the product's environmental impact. This is a valuable first step in considering how to reduce that impact. It also helps students to grasp ideas that are essential to rational eco design (Granta 2010)

3.5 Eco Design

Engineering change order (ECO) is a written document authorizing to incorporate changes in the scope of the engineering process while Eco design is an approach to design of a product with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole life cycle. It involves the requirements that are already taken account during design process, i.e. quality, legislation, costs, functionality, durability, ergonomics, aesthetics and health and safety considerations. As a result, eco designed products are innovative, have better environmental performance and are of a quality at least as good as the market standard.

One way in which manufacturing industry can reduce the impact it has on the environment is for it to adopt eco-efficiency approaches. In particular eco-design is increasingly viewed as being key to sustainable and improved product development. If eco-design approaches are to be effective and have a significant impact, the chosen techniques need to be based on sound design and engineering principles that are accessible and lend themselves to being supported throughout the design and manufacturing process.(Knight, Paul et al. 2009)

Before the introduction of eco design, we rely on traditional design, it only taken the account of the production and material uses into consideration compare to eco design that involve the entire life cycle of the product/component from raw material extraction to product disposal into consideration.

Eco-design seeks to redress the balance and make the necessary links by recognising the impact of the broad role of design through a process which addresses the wider picture. Sometimes known as Design for the Environment, eco design has been defined as the systematic integration of environmental considerations into product and process design. The process aims to minimise the costs and adverse environmental impacts of products throughout their entire life cycles. Eco-design does not only add environmental considerations to product design but it is also full of sustainable design, an approach that incorporate more innovative practices, employ ecological principles, and encompass social and ethical aspects.(Knight, Paul et al. 2009)

3.6 Embodied energy

Embodied energy can be defined as a measure of the energy required to produce 1 kg of a semi-finished material (cradle-to-gate). Embodied energy is the total sum of energy necessary for entire product life cycle. It is energy which is used for the manufacture of a product, for the transport of sale and for the end of life cycle, in an accountable manner. We need to take into consideration, the amount of energy which is spent in the manufacturing processes and transportation of various materials. Conservation of energy becomes important in the context of limiting green house gases emission into the atmosphere and reducing costs of materials. (Venkatarama Reddy, V. et al. 2003)

Venkatarama further said that selection of materials and technologies for the product manufacturing should satisfy the desired needs of the user as well as the development needs of the society, without causing any adverse impact on environment. Manufacturing processes of materials contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. There is a great concern and emphasis in reducing the greenhouse gases emission into the atmosphere in order to control adverse environmental impacts.

The rationales behind the selection of materials to meet environmental objectives start by indentifying the phase of product life that causes greatest concerns such as; production, manufacture, use or disposal. If the material production is the phase of concern, selection is based on minimizing the embodied energy or the associated emissions. In general, almost all the phases consume energy and generate emission. Embodied energy is the key input to any eco tool.

3.7 Amendment

3.7 1 Engineering Materials for Product and Component

Materials play an important role during the entire design process of product and component as designers need to identify materials with specific functionalities in order to find feasible design concepts. For product and component to be environmental friendly the choice of materials takes the largest percentage in the production process so therefore materials identification and uses are paramount to be incorporated to achieved the desire goals moreover other considerations are to be put in position in order to obtain proper material selection; designers will establish the set of the required properties and seek the materials, by comparing the properties across all the classes. Charts are consulted to find the materials which offer the best match for the specific function of the product and component.

The project will cover varieties of the engineering materials as products and components are made of different types of materials combine together to perform specific purposes

Figure 11 Engineering Materials for Product and Components

3.7 2 Crash barriers

Crash barrier are obstruction erected along the centre of a motorway, around bend and racetrack to protect the driver and passenger in road vehicle for safety purposes against accident, they are of two types, the static are installed at divider of a freeway and those that are moveable such as bumper of a vehicle

Crash barriers possessed the following attributes

High strength

Fracture toughness

Light in Weight

3.7 3 Packaging Foams

Foam is a hybrid made from polymer; polystyrene, phenolic, polyethylene and polypropylene by controlled expansion and solidification of a liquid or melt through a blowing agent, they are light and stiff. They are used for packages of material, products and components to prevent damage to fragile objects during transportation from one location to another due to their energy management

3.7 4 Ceramics

Ceramics are materials made of non-metallic minerals that have been permanently hardened by firing at a high temperature or objects made of such materials. Ceramics resist heat and chemicals and are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Traditional ceramics are made of clay and other natural occurring materials while modern high-tech ceramics use silicon carbide, alumina, and other specially purified or synthetic raw materials

Ceramic possessed the following attributes

Stiff - high modulus E


Abrasion resistant

Good high temperature strength

Good corrosion resistance


3.7 5 Composites

Composite are mixture of two or more different materials combine together with each having its own unique, different characteristics and giving useful properties for specific applications. Composite have a polymer matrix which are epoxy or polyester reinforced by fibre of glass, carbon or Kevlar.

Chapter 4 Methodology

Environmental impact on the material will be indentified by using CES software so we can discover how it can be translated into product specifications to meet the requirement of environmental friendliness. Selection of materials which both minimise energy consumption and environmental emission at the operational and the management levels are the target whilst minimising cost.

The approach is as follows;

Be familiar with the use of CES soft ware

Indentify and develop skill on how to analysis the result of the materials chart

Investigation on materials that are Eco friendly

Review of existing products and processes with environment related criteria

Introduces method and tools for designing

Develop skill on the uses of Eco audit tool

Identify variables that will be inputted in to software

Investigation on Polymer materials that are biodegradable

Indentify the phase of life cycle that has largest impact on environment

List constraints requirement

Decide on ranking criterion, choose the best material and factors that meet constraint and apply objective

Research the top ranking candidate in its application for innovative technology.

Use polymeric materials to demonstrate how eco audit tool may be used to assist in material selection for innovative technology.

4.1 Modification

Use of Energy Chart in CES

Investigation on materials that is recyclable / biodegradable

Possible documentation on research method for the top ranking eco materials and their application in innovative technologies

4.2 Project Deliverables

Project deliverable will be based on methodology on chapter four on previous pages, as of now I can use the soft ware properly to analyse product and components also to figure out which phase of the life cycle has the largest impact on the product.

Suitable materials had been indentify for different products and components

Recyclable and Bio- degradable material had been indentify

Product will be defined rather than Materials define

How to reduce energy consumption, emission generated by the product and embodied energy which are the key input to any eco tool has been sorted out.

Chapter 5 Experimental

CES software is used to collect the data for eco attributes such as energy, emissions, toxicity, recyclability and materials properties. Material properties chart are the core tool for the experiment, it comprises of bar and bubble chart analysis.

Bar chart is to plot one property value while bubble chart is for two or more properties as it provides more information. Design of eco informed material with eco audit tool was carried out, the output of eco data form CES software are shown below.

Figure 12 Eco data from CES software

Figure 13 Output of Eco Audit Tool

5.1 Modification

Problems of having documentation in Eco audit solution

New problems to be defined based on relevance in an Irish/International context

Chapter 6 Results

This chapter deals with the analysis of the experimental section, material properties charts will be analysed and the results will be presented.

Result of Eco audit tool on different materials is justified and factor of consideration for eco impact on polymeric materials that I focus in this project will be clearly presented.

The phase of the product life cycle that has the largest impact on the environment will be indentified and necessary steps will be taken.

Chapter 7 Conclusion

During material selection for a product design, decisions are based on a variety of factors such as cost, properties, performance and environmental aspects for a product to meet required goals. The main target is to minimise cost, energy consumption and emission. Upon conclusion of this project, these goals will be brought to light.

Chapter 8 Project Progress

Conducted a preliminary literature review on materials selection

Get familiar with CES software

Researched on polymeric materials

Researched on polymer that are biodegradable

Reviewing relevant academic paper on eco informed materials

8.1 Progress to date

Researched on varieties of Materials

Research on Materials that are recyclable or biodegradable

Problems having document solution

New problems to be defined based on relevance in an Irish product context

Able to identify where products and components has largest eco impact

Use of Eco Audit Tool for case studies on products and components

Strength and weakness of Eco Audit Tool are outline with the case studies

Case study on PET bottle with Polypropylene cap

Case study on Automobile: Family car

Case study on domestic appliance: Electric jug kettle

Case study on domestic appliance: Portable space heater

Results for above case studies are included in Appendix 1