Material selection is an essential part of the job of a design engineer. As resource scarcity becomes increasingly significant, the ability to choose the right material for the job will become more an more important.
Embodied energy and embodied carbon are increasingly important factors in material selection. The University of Bath’s Inventory of Carbon and Energy dataset is major source of data for material selection. The inventory of Carbon and Energy Visualisation featured here in Workshed is a visualisation of the Bath dataset developed by Bengt Cousins-Jenvey that makes this vast dataset more accessible. Read more about his work on Bengt’s research blog.
The Green Guide to specification, produced by the BRE, provides information on the broader environmental impacts of different construction materials.
Similarly Granta has produced a range of tools to that illustrate the life-cycle of a wide range of materials. Note that these tools are not free-to-use.
Additional handy information about materials can be found in the Engineer’s Toolbox also available on this site.