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Sunday, 19 October 2008

Ashby Diagrammes, Granta Design, Materials selection software

Great Innovations Here.

Science, Engineering,
Software and Design Excellence.

You will most certainly agree that it is important to have the client-users opinion.

Web-zine, “Engineering Live” reports on the renowned work on materials selection and materials selection software by Cambridge Univ, UK Start-up, Granta Design*.

It’s all in the Eng Live title “almost” : "Materials selection software is simpler to use!

Rightly confident of their now recognised competence, the Granta team established in US for several years, demonstrated the new release of the CES Selector software at the Materials Science and Technology (MS&T) conference in “ Capital of Iron & Steel City” Pittsburgh, PA, USA. On 14th Oct. 2008.

Almost as important as the many technical attributes – speed: ease to learn and use, a quick and simple method to specify design objectives; Eco Audit Tool for eco-design; capabilities for cost analysis; further plastic selection options; and extended coverage of medical materials, comprehensive data on the properties of materials combined with powerful graphical software for analysis and selection; dimensions, cost, strength, CO2 footprint are all there. – are the two main trends according to Dr Patrick Coulter, chief operating officer at Granta who is quoted as saying: "CES Selector 2008 responds to two key trends that we see in working with our customers.
-1. The need for practical design tools to enable decision making early in the design process, saving cost and time.
-2.The increasing importance of environmental objectives. Enhancements in these and other areas will increase the impact of CES Selector on key business issues in engineering enterprises."
[RHS: CES Selector 2008 - A designer is investigating materials for a design application that uses a panel in bending The graph shows the trade-off between embodied energy and mass for this application. Such plots enable a designer to quantify and visualize, engineering, economic, and environmental properties.]

If I stop my review here you will certainly suffer as much frustration as I will in not providing a satisfying introduction to this excellent work and materials selection and design tool not to mention the enhanced engineering knowledge and insight it provides students, lecturers and users alike.

A new Eco Audit Tool enables identification of the energy emissions from a product at different phases in its lifecycle, based on the materials and processes used; eg. material, manufacture, transport, use, disposal. LHS-Fig. Histogramme Energy vs Lifecycle phase

CES Selector enables designers, engineers and materials experts to explore materials and process options and to make and justify rational, auditable selection and substitution decisions.

It helps materials producers to analyse and position their products.

It is particularly valuable in balancing competing engineering, economic and environmental objectives.

The new Eco Audit Tool allows the user to enter information about a product design's composition, processing, use, transportation and disposal.

The tool combines this with eco - property data to estimate the energy usage and CO2 output at each stage in the proposed product's life-cycle. Knowing which phases in the life-cycle will make the most significant contribution to environmental impact can help to guide the design strategy. CES Selector's analysis capabilities can be used to identify materials and process changes that will minimise this impact. The aim is to make such decisions early in the design phase, when they cost least and have the most effect.

The CES Selector methodology is accepted
as a standard for such rational materials selection.

[RHS Young's Modulus (E) vs Density (ρ); Tie line E/ρ ,
Beam, E^1/2/ρ, Panel E^1/3 / ρ ]

The new menu makes the software much quicker to use in practical design since it reduces the previous need to specify design objectives as mathematical formulae.

This focus on practical use extends beyond software features – Granta is also introducing more flexible site- and company-wide licensing, as well as new training options for users.

At the heart of CES Selector is a series of data modules containing comprehensive property and processing data about thousands of engineering materials regularly updated and extended to increase data relevance and effectiveness.

New price estimates are available for over 3000 materials.

These enable users to rank materials based on 'cost per unit of function' for an engineering application, helping them to make selection and substitution decisions that reduce or avoid cost. Such decisions are particularly important in a time of volatile materials pricing – nickel, copper and the feed-stocks for commodity plastics offer recent examples of price fluctuations. Medical and Food Contact applications and for plastics. The medical data covers issues such as the regulatory approval status of materials and their sterilisability, resistance to chemicals, and permeability. This data has been extended to cover not only medical plastics, but also metals and ceramics. Plastics data now include more information on important classes including elastomers, rubbers and transparent plastics.


Granta Design was founded as a spin-out from Cambridge University by Professor Mike Ashby, a world-renowned authority in materials engineering, and Dr David Cebon, a leading expert in the application of materials information to engineering applications.

Initial Source for Engineering News:
Engineering Live

Eng Live Report “Materials selection software is simpler to use” 14 Oct 2008.

Main sources:

The People

Granta Design CES
Eco Design and Eco Regulations
Reference Data
How to Use Materials Information
The Enterprise Materials Optimizer’s
-The importance of 'cost per unit of function’,
-Definition of design objective, and associated materials ranking,
-Operation with respect to a known reference material.

Education Pack-Video recordings.
Ashby Methods -Diagrammes

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