Materials and Design

Materials and Design

The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design

3rd Edition - December 19, 2013

Write a review

  • Authors: Michael Ashby, Kara Johnson
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080982823
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780080982052

Purchase options

Purchase options
DRM-free (EPub, PDF, Mobi)
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out

Institutional Subscription

Free Global Shipping
No minimum order


Materials are the stuff of design. From the very beginning of human history, materials have been taken from the natural world and shaped, modified, and adapted for everything from primitive tools to modern electronics. This renowned book by noted materials engineering author Mike Ashby and industrial designer Kara Johnson explores the role of materials and materials processing in product design, with a particular emphasis on creating both desired aesthetics and functionality. The new edition features even more of the highly useful "materials profiles" that give critical design, processing, performance and applications criteria for each material in question. The reader will find information ranging from the generic and commercial names of each material, its physical and mechanical properties, its chemical properties, its common uses, how it is typically made and processed, and even its average price. And with improved photographs and drawings, the reader is taken even more closely to the way real design is done by real designers, selecting the optimum materials for a successful product.

Key Features

  • The best guide ever published on the on the role of materials, past and present, in product development, by noted materials authority Mike Ashby and professional designer Kara Johnson--now with even better photos and drawings on the Design Process
  • Significant new section on the use of re-cycled materials in products, and the importance of sustainable design for manufactured goods and services
  • Enhanced materials profiles, with addition of new materials types like nanomaterials, advanced plastics and bio-based materials


Materials Engineers & Students, Product & Industrial Design Professionals and Students

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Introduction


    Further Reading

    Chapter 2. What Influences Product Design?


    People and the Market

    Science and Technology

    Sustainability and the Environment

    Economics and Investment Climate

    Aesthetics, Behavior and Industrial Design

    Some Examples…

    Material Evolution

    Materials and Society


    Further Reading

    Chapter 3. Materiality, Design, and Creativity


    Ways of Thinking

    The Design Process

    The Design of Pens – an Example

    Sources of Inspiration


    Case Studies from IDEO


    Further Reading

    Chapter 4. Materials: The Stuff That Surrounds Us


    The Engineering Dimension: Technical Attributes

    Usability: Ergonomics and Interfaces

    The Environment: “Green” Design and Sustainability

    Aesthetics: The Five Senses

    Personality: Building Emotional Connections


    Further Reading

    Chapter 5. Manufacturing: Shaping, Joining, and Surfaces


    The Engineering Dimension: Technical Attributes

    The Other Dimensions

    Expression through Joining


    Further Reading

    Chapter 6. Form Follows Material


    Materials and Architecture

    Materials and Products

    Identifying a Feature List

    The Compressor: Design Language

    Household Appliances: Design Language

    The Inverse Process: Product Archeology


    Further Reading

    Chapter 7. Material Selection


    Classification and Indexing

    An Information Structure for Product Design

    Material Selection for Product Design

    Material Selection

    Case Studies

    The Structure

    Office Furniture

    CD Cases

    Violin Bows

    Ice Axes

    Inline Skates


    Further Reading

    Chapter 8. Materials and Sustainability


    The Role of Materials

    The Role of Design


    Further Reading

    Chapter 9. New Materials


    The Adoption of New Materials

    Information about New Materials

    Profiles for New Materials

    A Material Workshop

    Material Exploration

    Eastman Plastics

    BASF High Temperature Plastic

    Liquidmetal Amorphous Alloys

    Eleksen Electronic Fabric


    Further Reading

    Chapter 10. Conclusions



    Chart 1 – Elastic Modulus, E, and Density, ρ

    Chart 2 – Strength, σf, and Density, ρ

    Chart 3 – Fracture Toughness, KIC, and Elastic Modulus, E

    Chart 4 – Elastic Modulus, E, and Strength, σf

    Chart 5 – Loss Coefficient, η, and Elastic Modulus, E

    Chart 6 – Thermal Expansion Coefficient, α, and Thermal Conductivity, λ

    Chart 7 – Strength and Stiffness of Fibers

    Appendix: Modeling Aesthetic Attributes

    Appendix: Selection by Analysis

    Multi-Objective Optimization


    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. What Influences Product Design?

    Chapter 3. Materiality, Design, and Creativity

    Chapter 4. Materials – The Stuff That Surrounds Us

    Chapter 5. Manufacturing; Shaping, Joining, Surfaces

    Chapter 6. Form Follows Material

    Chapter 7. Material Selection

    Chapter 8. Materials and Sustainability

    Chapter 9. New Materials

    Chapter 10. Conclusions

    Additional Exercises (Using the CES EduPack and Selector Software)

    Material Profiles

    Material Evolution


    Polymer Composites





    Polyethylene (PE)

    Polypropylene (PP)

    Polystyrene (PS)

    Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)

    Polyamide (PA), Nylon

    Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), Acrylic

    Polycarbonate (PC)

    Polyoxymethylene (POM), Acetal

    Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)


    Polyurethane (PU)

    Polyesters (PET, PBT, PETg)



    Cellulose Acetate (CA)

    Cellulose Nitrate (Celluloid)

    Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA, PHB)

    Polylactide (PLA)

    Thermoplastic Starch (TPS)


    Polymer Foams

    Polymer Composites

    Carbon Steels

    Stainless Steels

    Low Alloy Steels

    Aluminum Alloys

    Magnesium Alloys

    Titanium Alloys

    Nickel Alloys

    Zinc Alloys

    Copper, Brass, Bronze

    Technical Ceramics


    Natural Materials

    Metal Foams

    Amorphous Metals

    Shape-memory Alloys

    Technical Fibers

    Natural Fibers

    Further reading

    Shaping Profiles

    Injection Molding

    Rotational Molding

    Blow Molding

    Expanded Foam Molding

    Compression Molding

    Resin Transfer Molding


    Sand Casting

    Investment Casting

    Polymer Casting

    Shape Rolling and Die Forging


    Press Forming, Roll Forming, and Spinning


    Lay-Up Methods

    Powder Methods

    Laser Prototyping

    Deposition Prototyping

    Further reading

    Joining Profiles



    Rivets and Staples

    Threaded Fasteners

    Snap Fits

    Hot Gas Welding

    Hot Bar Welding

    Hot Plate Welding

    Ultrasonic Welding

    Power-beam Welding



    Torch Welding (MMA or SMA)

    MIG Welding

    TIG Welding

    Resistance Welding

    Friction Welding

    Diffusion and Glaze Bonding

    Further Reading

    Surface Profiles

    Screen Printing

    Pad Printing

    Cubic Printing

    Hot Stamping

    In-Mold Decoration

    Vapor Metalizing


    Electro-Less Plating


    Mechanical Polishing


    Chemical Polishing

    Solvent-Based Painting

    Water-Based Painting


    Powder Coating




    Further Reading


Product details

  • No. of pages: 416
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Butterworth-Heinemann 2014
  • Published: December 19, 2013
  • Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080982823
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780080982052

About the Authors

Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby
Mike Ashby is one of the world’s foremost authorities on materials selection. He is sole or lead author of several of Elsevier’s top selling engineering textbooks, including Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design, Materials Selection in Mechanical Design, Materials and the Environment, Materials and Sustainable Development, and Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing and Design. He is also co-author of the books Engineering Materials 1&2, and Nanomaterials, Nanotechnologies and Design.

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Society Research Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge, and Former Visiting Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, London, UK

Kara Johnson

Since publishing the first edition of Materials and Design in 2002, Kara Johnson has worked at IDEO, a global design firm and strategic consultancy. Kara leads their efforts in Materials, with a focus on Manufacturing. Her work is primarily about linking a company’s brand and business strategies with the products they make.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director of Materials, IDEO - Global Innovation and Design Firm

Ratings and Reviews

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for "Materials and Design"