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An explanation of the impact of 'new' materials on product design in the 20th and 21st century

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A.M.D.G An explanation of the impact of 'new' materials on product design in the 20th and 21st century As new materials are developed and processed, design technologists and people working with industrial materials must think how these new materials will affect the way in which they design and manufacture products. Design technologists also have to be conscious of how these materials effect the environment and the way in which they are recycled. In Today's industry products are increasingly being made from composite materials. Composite materials are formed by combining two or more materials that have different properties. The different materials work together to give the composite unique properties, but within the composite you can easily tell the different materials apart - they do not dissolve or blend into each other. A good example of a composite material is steel. ...read more.


A wood-based material such as chipboard is created by taking wood particles (flakes, chips and shavings) from all commercial timbers, bonded with synthetic phenolic resin. This type of wood is also a type of composite. Composite timber products have many advantages over ordinary timbers such as Oregon. They can utilise smaller dimensions of timber as the raw material, but can be manufactured to create large dimension composite beams and sheets, etc. Less timber overall is required to make products which are lighter and stronger than timber. Lower quantities and smaller sizes of timber means less pressure on native forest timber. Prices of imported timbers will continue to rise which will continue to make composites a more attractive proposition for builders and designers. The real disadvantage to manufactured wood-based woods is the chemical fumes that it emits (M.D.F is a banned material in the U.S.A). ...read more.


Thermoplastics are used in products such as pipes, guttering, toys etc. The reason why some products are made from thermosetting plastics is due to the high temperatures it can stand. Like thermoplastic, thermosetting plastic begin as long-chain molecules. When it is heated they become chemically tied by covalent bonds and are cross-linked. The molecules link side by side as well as end to end. Once this rigid network structure has formed it is irreversible. Thermosetting plastics are rigid and non-flexible and are used in products such as domestic appliance parts, tableware car bodies etc. Metals have also been a material effecting the way in which product designers manufacture and design products. In metals atoms and ions are attracted to one another by electrical forces, this is what holds them together in a molecule. Metals mostly have only one or two electrons attached loosely in their outer shell and this free movement of electrons gives metals its properties of high thermal and electrical conductivity. This free moving state also gives rise to plasticity. ...read more.

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