Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3748-3758
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
The role played by materials and manufacturing technologies in the industrial product has a relevant impacts on designers, producers and users. Therefore, it results necessary to provide design methods and tools to students, for a critical approach to the issue.

The selection of the best suitable material for a given application, plays an essential role all over the product design process. Designers and engineers have to explore a large number of available materials, different from each other for mechanical, physical, environmental (energy cost, environmental impact, and recyclability), manufacturing, and general properties (density, cost, …), and market trends or cultural aspects.
The educational experience conducted at Politecnico di Milano, within the course “Materials Selection Criteria In Design & Engineering”, allowed students to approach materials and technologies selection criteria, and to learn their potentiality by doing a design project.

Taking advantage from the collaboration with an Italian leader company in the production of home lighting, students firstly studied the lighting products through their 3D assembly, without any information about the materials and technologies employed in the production process of each component.

Analyzing each component of the lamp, students explored its function, constraints and objectives. For instance, a lampshade diffuser (function) needs to be transparent or translucent in order to light the environment (constraint), and needs to withstand a specific temperature depending on the light source (constraint). Moreover, the diffuser might need to be lightweight or not expensive, depending on the product (objectives).

After this analysis, the second step focused on the employment of a materials and technologies selection software, called “Cambridge Engineering Selector” (or shortly CES). This software is a tool that correlates functions, constraints and objectives with the identification of suitable materials, in this case for each lamp component.

After the selection of one or two suitable materials for each component, and the related manufacturing technologies, students designed innovative paradigms for the light product examined, focusing both on technical innovation and aesthetic restyling.

Combining the study and application of efficient light sources, as LED technology, the young designers had the opportunity to understand how materials and technologies selection is relevant in meeting performance requirements as technical innovation, functionality, and user perception.
Taking advantage also from the company expert advices, students acquired knowledge on materials science and engineering, awareness on materials properties commonly employed in light products, and skills in material selection.
Materials selection, manufacturing technologies selection, design education, home lighting.