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case study on mugs

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Case Study two

The most suitable material to use when in production of mugs.

To design a mug the most crucial part of the design is the material you choose to use. This is because the material you use will greatly affect how useful the product is. When producing a mug manufacturers need to know that it will have the main properties needed for a mug these are:

  • Durable
  • Strong
  • Low thermal heat conductivity (so no heat is lost)
  • High specific heat capacity
  • Malleable
  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • High melting point
  • Aesthetically pleasing

The two materials I have chosen to use for my research are polystyrene and glass as I think these are both suitable candidates.


Glass is known to be a non-toxic, inorganic, amorphous (meaning no definite form), brittle, transparent solid that has an irregular atomic structure. The most successful and widely used glass for cook ware that is heat resistant is known as tempered glass. Tempered glass is made up of annealing glass which is a process of slowly cooling glass to relieve internal stresses after it was formed. This will therefore toughen the glass and increase its compressive strength.

Annealing glass


Tempered glass

Toughened or tempered glass is glass

...read more.


Toughened glass must be cut to size or pressed to shape before toughening and cannot be re-worked once toughened. So if any mistakes are made there is no erasing them. Also all Polishing the edges or drilling holes in the glass is carried out before the toughening process starts so no changes can be made after. Also as the glass has balanced stresses inside, damage to the glass will eventually result in the glass shattering into thumbnail sized pieces. The glass is most susceptible to breakage due to damage to the edge of the glass where the tensile stress is the greatest, but shattering can also occur in the event of a hard impact in the middle of the glass pane or if the impact is concentrated. This means it would need to be striked with something with a point. Another disadvantage is that can be unsecure as it has Using toughened glass can pose a security risk in some situations due to the tendency of the glass to shatter completely upon hard impact rather than leaving shards in the windowsill.



High melting point

1400-1600 °C


Compressive strength 1000MPa

Low pacific heat capacity



Youngs Modulus 70 GPa

Low thermal conductivity

0.0027 WmK

...read more.


bone china and other porcelains, though it is not translucent and is more easily chipped. Disadvantage of Earthenware is it is also less strong, less tough, and more porous than stoneware. But advantages are that its low cost and easier working making up for its disadvantages. Due to its higher porosity, earthenware must usually be glazed in order to be watertight.

Types of earthenware

  • Delftware
  • Faience
  • Tin-glazed pottery
  • Victorian majolica
  • Raku
  • Terra cotta
  • Creamware



High melting point

1000 °C +


Strong but not plastic

Low pacific heat capacity

1.3 JmK


Youngs Modulus 20-50 GPa

Low thermal conductivity

0.21 WmK


Having looked at all the physical properties for the two examples I was given I feel that overall tempered glass are the more likely to be more successful as a mug.

Mugs made of earthenware have been proved to be most popular as they are cheap, easy to produce and can provide all different variation to please all sorts of consumers.

However I feel tempered glass are more aesthetically pleasing and stylish. They also were chosen as their compressive strength and malleability is far greater then that of ceramics.

This means even though they will be slightly more expensive then ceramics they will last longer. As they are less likely to break during manufacture and use. This is because they are not porous and more malleable.

...read more.

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