Materials and the Environment

Materials and the Environment

Eco-informed Material Choice

2nd Edition - March 28, 2012
There is a Newer Edition Available
  • Author: Michael Ashby
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123859723

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Materials and the Environment: Eco-Informed Material Choice, Second Edition, is the first book devoted solely to the environmental aspects of materials and their selection, production, use and disposal, by one of the world's foremost materials authorities. It explores human dependence on materials and its environmental consequences and provides perspective, background, methods, and data for thinking about and designing with materials to minimize their environmental impact. Organized into 15 chapters, this new edition looks at the history of our increasing dependence on materials and energy. It explains where materials come from and how they are used in a variety of industries, along with their life cycle and their relationship to energy and carbon. It also examines controls and economic instruments that hinder the use of engineering materials, considers sustainability from a materials perspective, and highlights the importance of low-carbon power and material efficiency. Furthermore, it discusses the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of engineering metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and natural materials in relation to environmental issues. The volume includes new chapters on Materials for Low Carbon Power & and Material Efficiency, all illustrated by in-text examples and expanded exercises. There are also new case studies showing how the methods discussed in the book can be applied to real-world situations. This book is intended for instructors and students of Engineering, Materials Science and Industrial/Product Design, as well as for materials engineers and product designers who need to consider the environmental implications of materials in their designs.

Key Features

  • Introduces methods and tools for thinking about and designing with materials within the context of their role in products and the environmental consequences
  • Contains numerous case studies showing how the methods discussed in the book can be applied to real-world situations
  • Includes full-color data sheets for 40 of the most widely used materials, featuring such environmentally relevant information as their annual production and reserves, embodied energy and process energies, carbon footprints, and recycling data

New to this edition:

  • New chapter of Case Studies of Eco-audits illustrating the rapid audit method
  • New chapter on Materials for Low Carbon Power examines the consequences for materials supply of a major shift from fossil-fuel based power to power from renewables
  • New chapter exploring Material Efficiency, or design and management for manufacture to provide the services we need with the least production of materials
  • Recent news-clips from the world press  that help place materials issues into a broader context.are incorporated into all chapters
  • End-of-chapter exercises have been greatly expanded
  • The datasheets of Chapter 15 have been updated and expanded to include natural and man-made fibers


Students of Engineering, Materials Science and Industrial/Product Design; Materials & Industrial Engineers; Product Designers

Table of Contents

  • Preface and acknowledgments

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    1.1 Introduction and synopsis

    1.2 Materials: a brief history

    1.3 Learned dependency: the reliance on nonrenewable materials

    1.4 Materials and the environment

    1.5 Summary and conclusions

    1.6 Further reading

    1.7 Exercises

    Chapter 2. Resource consumption and its drivers

    2.1 Introduction and synopsis

    2.2 Where do materials come from?

    2.3 Resource consumption

    2.4 Exponential growth and doubling times

    2.5 Reserves, the resource base, and resource life

    2.6 The materials-energy-carbon triangle

    2.7 Summary and conclusions

    2.8 Further reading

    2.9 Exercises

    Chapter 3. The material life cycle

    3.1 Introduction and synopsis

    3.2 The design process

    3.3 The materials life cycle

    3.4 Life-cycle assessment: details and difficulties

    3.5 Streamlined LCA and eco-auditing

    3.6 The strategy

    3.7 Summary and conclusions

    3.8 Further reading

    3.9 Appendix: software for LCA

    3.10 Exercises

    Chapter 4. End of first life

    4.1 Introduction and synopsis

    4.2 What determines product life?

    4.3 End-of-first-life options

    4.4 The problem of packaging

    4.5 Recycling—resurrecting materials

    4.6 Summary and conclusions

    4.7 Further reading

    4.8 Appendix: designations used in recycle marks

    4.9 Exercises

    Chapter 5. The long reach of legislation

    5.1 Introduction and synopsis

    5.2 Growing awareness and legislative response

    5.3 International treaties, protocols, and conventions

    5.4 National legislation: standards and directives

    5.5 Economic instruments: taxes, subsidies, and trading schemes

    5.6 The consequences

    5.7 Summary and conclusions

    5.8 Further reading

    5.9 Exercises

    Chapter 6. Eco-data

    6.1 Introduction and synopsis

    6.2 Data precision: recalibrating expectations

    6.3 The eco-attributes of materials

    6.4 Energy and CO2 footprints of energy, transport, and use

    6.5 Exploring the data: property charts

    6.6 Summary and conclusions

    6.7 Further reading

    6.8 Exercises

    Chapter 7. Eco-audits and eco-audit tools

    7.1 Introduction and synopsis

    7.2 Eco-audits

    7.3 Computer-aided eco-auditing

    7.4 Summary and conclusions

    7.5 Further reading

    7.6 Appendix: eco-audit tools

    7.7 Exercises

    Chapter 8. Case studies

    8.1 Introduction and synopsis

    8.2 Reusable and disposable cups

    Further reading

    8.3 Grocery bags

    Further reading

    8.4 An electric kettle

    8.5 A coffee maker

    8.6 An A-rated washing machine

    Further reading

    8.7 Ricoh imagio MF6550 copier

    Further reading

    8.8 A portable space heater

    8.9 Ceramic pottery kilns

    8.10 Auto bumpers—exploring substitution

    8.11 Family car—comparing material energy with use energy

    Further reading

    8.12 Computer-assisted audits: a hair dryer

    8.13 Summary and conclusions

    8.14 Exercises

    Exercises using the CES eco-audit tool

    Chapter 9. Material selection strategies

    9.1 Introduction and synopsis

    9.2 The selection strategy: choosing a car

    9.3 Principles of materials selection

    9.4 Selection criteria and property charts

    9.5 Using indices for scaling

    9.6 Resolving conflicting objectives: trade-off methods

    9.7 Seven useful charts

    9.8 Computer-aided selection

    9.9 Summary and conclusions

    9.10 Further reading

    9.11 Appendix: deriving material indices

    9.12 Exercises

    Exercises using CES Edu Level 2 Eco

    Chapter 10. Eco-informed materials selection

    10.1 Introduction and synopsis

    10.2 Which bottle is best? Selection per unit of function

    10.3 Systematic eco-selection: carbonated-water bottles

    10.4 Structural materials for buildings

    10.5 Initial and recurring embodied energy of buildings

    10.6 Heating and cooling (1): refrigeration

    10.7 Heating and cooling (2): materials for passive solar heating

    10.8 Heating and cooling (3): kilns and cyclic heating

    10.9 Transportation (1): introduction

    10.10 Transportation (2): crash barriers—matching material to purpose

    10.11 Transportation (3): materials for light weight structures

    10.12 Transportation (4): material substitution for eco-efficient design

    10.13 Summary and conclusions

    10.14 Further reading

    10.15 Exercises

    Exercises using the CES Edu software

    Chapter 11. Sustainability

    11.1 Introduction and synopsis

    11.2 The concept of sustainable development

    11.3 The ecological metaphor

    11.4 Material sustainability

    11.5 Renewable materials

    11.6 Bio-derived materials

    11.7 Summary and conclusions

    11.8 Further reading

    11.9 Exercises

    Chapter 12. Materials for low-carbon power

    12.1 Introduction and synopsis

    12.2 The resource intensity of power sources—the big picture

    12.3 Conventional fossil-fuel power: gas and coal

    12.4 Nuclear power

    12.5 Solar energy: thermal, thermoelectric, and photovoltaics

    12.6 Fuel cells

    12.7 Wind power

    12.8 Hydropower

    12.9 Wave power

    12.10 Tidal power

    12.11 Geothermal power

    12.12 Biomass

    12.13 Summary and conclusions

    12.14 Further reading

    12.15 Appendix 1: Definitions of properties

    12.16 Appendix 2: Approximate material intensities for power systems

    12.17 Exercises

    Chapter 13. Material efficiency

    13.1 Introduction and synopsis

    13.2 What is the point of materials efficiency?

    13.3 Increasing material efficiency (1): engineering solutions

    13.4 Increasing material efficiency (2): legislation and social change

    13.5 What makes material efficiency difficult?

    13.6 Mechanisms to promote material efficiency

    13.7 Summary and conclusions

    13.8 Further reading

    13.9 Exercises

    Chapter 14. The bigger picture

    14.1 Introduction and synopsis

    14.2 Material value

    14.3 Carbon, energy, and GDP

    14.4 Does GDP measure national wealth?6

    14.5 Forces for change: threats7

    14.6 Opportunities

    14.7 Summary and conclusions

    14.8 Further reading

    14.9 Exercises

    Chapter 15. Material profiles

    15.1 Introduction and synopsis

    15.2 Metals and alloys

    15.3 Polymers

    15.4 Ceramics and glasses

    15.5 Hybrids: composites, foams, wood, and paper

    15.6 Man-made and natural fibers

    APPENDIX. Useful numbers and conversions

    A.1 Introduction

    A.2 Physical constants in SI units

    A.3 Conversion of units, general

    A.4 Stress and pressure

    A.5 Energy and power

    A.6 Fuels

    A.7 Energy prices (2011 data)

    A.8 Further reading


Product details

  • No. of pages: 628
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Butterworth-Heinemann 2012
  • Published: March 28, 2012
  • Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123859723

About the Author

Michael Ashby

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

Mike Ashby 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, and Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing and Design. He is also coauthor 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