B. Del Curto, M.P. Pedeferri

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
In the last decade the Italian scenario of the design faculties is strongly changed. An increasing number of students attends design courses and approaches technical disciplines that since not so far were a prerogative of engineering courses as the science and the technology of materials. It is than mandatory to develop new tools and new methodology of teaching such disciplines to design students.
In the same years the opportunities to have access to information on materials and processes is enormously increased thanks to the developing of dedicated software and the availability of information on the web. This huge amount of information represents a great resource, but if not correctly handled can be dispersive and can create confusion.
At the Design Faculty of Politecnico di Milano the methodology chosen for teaching materials science merges lectures, use of dedicated software and web resources coupled with the access to a materials library (Materiali e Design) where the students can experience materials.
During the first part of the course basic knowledge on material science is given to the students; than such contents are developed and studied more in detail using the CES (Cambridge Engineering Selector) software.
CES software offers detailed information on materials and technological processes and it is also a powerful tool for making material selections on the basis of the project constrains.
The study and the selection of the proper material and process are based on the information given during the lectures and obtained using the software. These results are coupled with an experiential approach to materials that permits the students to appreciate the sensorial properties of the materials touching, smelling and feeling them.
In the material library physical samples of materials collected from different places of origin and catalogued, provide the direct experiencing if materials essential to design students. The material library also becomes an ideal place to answer the obvious need for communication among different project cultures, in order to combine the expressive-sensory level with the technical and engineering one.
Such stimulating experience can be also a starting point for a new selection of the materials for a given project.
Aim of this paper is to explain the methodology used in the design course of material science at the Politecnico di Milano and to show some examples of the integrated use of different resources on materials.