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Engineering Materials 2

Author: David R.H. Jones & Michael F. Ashby

Materials are evolving today faster than at any time in history. Industrial nations regard the development of new and improved materials as an “underpinning technology” – one which can stimulate innovation in all branches of engineering, making possible new designs for structures, appliances, engines, electrical and electronic devices, processing, and energy conservation equipment, and much more. Many of these nations have promoted government-backed initiatives to promote the development and exploitation of new materials: their lists generally include “high-performance” composites, new engineering ceramics,

high-strength polymers, glassy metals, and new high-temperature alloys for gas turbines. These initiatives are now being felt throughout engineering, and have already stimulated the design of a new and innovative range of consumer products.

So the engineer must be more aware of materials and their potential than
ever before. Innovation, often, takes the form of replacing a component made of one material (a metal, say) with one made of another (a polymer, perhaps), and then redesigning the product to exploit, to the maximum, the potential offered by the change.

The engineer must compare and weigh the properties of competing materials with precision: the balance, often, is a delicate one.

It involves an understanding of the basic properties of materials; of how these are controlled by processing; of how materials are formed, joined and finished;
and of the chain of reasoning that leads to a successful choice.
This book aims to provide this understanding.

It complements our other book on the properties and applications of engineering materials,∗ but it is not necessary to have read that to understand this.

In it, we group materials into four classes: Metals, Ceramics, Polymers, and Composites, and we examine each in turn. In any one class, there are common underlying structural features (the long-chain molecules in polymers, the intrinsic brittleness of ceramics, or the mixed materials of composites) which, ultimately, determine the strengths and weaknesses (the “design-limiting” properties) of each in the engineering context.

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