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Material Selection in the Engineering Design Process

Prof Jens Bergstrom | Karlstad University

Material Selection in the Engineering Design Process

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Teaching materials engineering and mechanical engineering in the engineering university study programs have often been separated. The new concepts of material selection support teaching the context around the engineering design process. The materials selection concept is used in direct materials selection courses, in engineering design courses, in integrated product development courses and in engineering thesis works. Here, we will focus on the implementation and performance of the concept in the engineering design courses (and integrated product development), and the role of the material selection in context of the design process (product specification, function analysis, concept generation and selection, layout design and drawing, design calculation, material selection, manufacturing method selection, detailed product spec, final report). Enterprises have been active partners in the courses, as they delivered engineering problem formulations, and asked for solutions. Underway, the companies supported students with info on demand. It was found that the student focused more on the construction, shaping, of the product rather than of the material aspects. However, compared to earlier performances of such courses, an increased awareness of both the material issues and of the relation between design selection and material selection was observed. Even though the courses allowed only a limited time of work for the students, and thus the engineering process was not covered in detail, the integration of company participation and final presentation of solutions to the companies enhanced the pretension, in a stimulating way, of taking part in a real engineering design process. In today's engineering professional life an awareness of the context of design and material issues is of paramount necessity. Applying the concept of integrated product development/ engineering process, is a very potent tool in teaching young engineering students, to prepare and offer them professional skills. Also, there is a stimulating effect in both teaching and learning.