Class of 2019 – what challenges do educators face today?
Imagine you’re 18 years old again. It’s the start of your undergraduate degree and you have no idea where your first class is being held. Instinctively, you reach for your smart phone and with two clicks you’ve found it’s in the Engineering Building, lecture hall 2 … et voilà!
Why is materials knowledge important?
Understanding the science behind materials is a valuable skill for engineers. Choosing the right material for a particular application can improve the performance of a product, make it more sustainable or even give it a competitive edge. The materials paradigm is an important relationship which helps explain how a material’s history (its processing) influences its structure, which in turn affects its properties and performance. Grasping these fundamental aspects is a useful skill that students should learn but in introductory courses, where competition for curriculum space is high, how can we engage students in the topic of materials science and engineering?
Congratulations to Prof. Kevin Jones, from the University of Florida, on receiving the NAMES (North American Materials Education Symposium) 2018 award for Outstanding Contributions to Materials Education for his course “Impact of Materials on Society” (IMOS).
In recognition for his exceptional contributions to the field of materials science and engineering, Prof. Stephen Krause was awarded the ‘Michael Ashby Outstanding Materials Educator Award’ at this year’s ASEE conference in Salt Lake City.
What does it mean to define a material as we move along the product lifecycle, from concept, through to engineering design, simulation, prototyping, manufacture, and distribution to the customer? A ‘material’ means one thing to a material engineer, something else to a CAD designer, and another to someone in manufacturing. Companies can spend weeks of wasted effort ensuring consistency or attempting to find or verify data.
The management of materials information is just one piece of the ‘materials intelligence’ puzzle. Discover how to reduce design cycles, minimize risk, improve product quality, aid compliance, and much more, by taking these five steps to increasing your Materials IQ.
Organizations make big investments in Additive Manufacturing. AM machines, new materials, experts in AM processes, testing, analysis, and simulation – no expense is spared. These costs feel justified in the light of the benefits that AM can bring – parts that can be printed-to-order, new lightweight components with previously unachievable shapes, or reduced manufacturing lead times.
Speaking at a recent webinar, experts from Honeywell Aerospace, Saudi Aramco, and Burberry presented the benefits of systematic materials selection.
If you haven’t been involved in a material information management project, you might think it’s only of interest to materials engineers.
My mother always tells the story of how I learnt to type my name on a computer before I could put pen to paper. I grew up with a love of computers and am not ashamed to say that the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) – covering the gamut of machine learning, and deep learning – is a particular passion. You can imagine my delight, therefore, when I came across not one but two recent articles on how the future of materials science and AI may be intertwined.
With a broad range of applications like corrosion protection, scratch resistance, and structural parts, hybrid materials receive a great deal of attention – particularly in high-performance engineering sectors such as aerospace, and automotive. As well as boasting high specific strength and stiffness, hybrid materials and structures like sandwich panels, foams, lattices, and composites, have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of those industries. But how can we ensure that the full benefits of this class of material are realized? And what challenges are there within the design and development process that could prevent this from happening?
Can users of today’s advanced simulation methods for Automotive still learn from sentiments expressed 150 years ago?
The rate of adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) is incredible. AM brings a physicality to ideas, and offers ways for people to touch upon solutions that would have been impossible to otherwise imagine. Equally impressive is the scale of investment in machines for producing AM parts, which is of course supported by business cases highlighting reduced development times, fewer prototype costs, reduced part counts, and flexible manufacturing. But, I am seeing more and more evidence that the prescribed route to this ‘Nirvana’ is via a process of trial and error for settings, powders, and even machine capability.
Southern Texas is the hub of the US’ supply of speciality chemicals and petrochemicals; the basis of plastics used to manufacture everything from water bottles to pill coatings. So, when Storm Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in 2017, companies within the US and worldwide were affected. For example, the close of company Arkema alone resulted in the loss of supply of 50% of the US’ supply of ethylene and polyethylene, and 40% of its chloralkaline and polyvinyl chloride.
Educators teaching introductory materials science courses know the drill: we have large classes filled with students from diverse backgrounds, with divergent aspirations and interests. And as with any type of compulsory learning experience, we look out onto a sea of people – some of whom want to be there; some don’t – and are tasked with finding how best to convey an understanding of a vast range of scale and concepts. Arguably, at this introductory level, the most fundamental of which is the relationship between Process, Structure, and Properties – otherwise known as the materials paradigm.
As any simulation analyst can tell you, quality materials and property data is essential for modeling and simulation within product design. However, this information often exists in many different formats and locations throughout an organization. For authors of data, generating the right materials information for simulation (usually by analyzing populations of materials test data) can be time consuming, the process can be inefficient, and it’s certainly always complex. Moreover, the final data that’s produced out of this process is not always then traceable to its source.
A casual observer at this year’s Material Intelligence seminar (and associated 6th North European Granta User Group meeting), held earlier this month at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, UK, will have come away with one core message. Whether we’re talking about processes, materials data, or driving a cultural change, the key to success is having a singular purpose and approach.
What are you doing on 21st November?
Join us at our Open House Evening and explore what life is like at an innovative Cambridge software company, with top engineering customers (e.g. Rolls-Royce, NASA, Boeing, Jaguar Land Rover) and a highly skilled multi-cultural team.
SusCritMat will host its first Winter School in Les Diablerets, Switzerland
Together with the Altair Partner Alliance, all of us at Granta are excited to announce that our powerful material selection tool, CES Selector, is now available for use by HyperWorks customers. It almost goes without saying that CES Selector is the industry standard tool for materials selection and graphical analysis of material properties. It is used to innovate and evolve products, quickly identify solutions to materials issues, confirm and validate material choices, and reduce material and development costs.
Granta’s very own Professor Michael Ashby is one of just six scientists to receive one of the 2017 International Congress on Fracture‘s highest honors, an Alan H. Cottrell Gold Medal.
In terms of sheer coolness, very few things come close to NASA – especially if you happen to be an avid Sci-Fi fan like me. With that in mind, two stories that emphasise the critical role materials selection plays in the quest towards space exploration have caught my eye.
Our very own Stephen Warde has been interviewed for the blog of one of the major providers of CAD/PLM software. Speaking to PTC, Steve highlights the difficulties faced by design engineers and the impact materials have on the ultimate cost and performance of a product.
“Are you innovating with intent?” seems like a simple question but if your company doesn’t have a good materials information strategy in place, the answer will most likely be “No”. In our latest blog post, you’ll discover how companies like Ethicon Endo-Surgery are innovating and raising their materials IQ.
The second in a series in which we meet the Granta team. We spoke with our colleague Pippa, to find out what she enjoys about being an Education Account Manager, and which scientist and material inspires her most. We’re always looking for like-minded individuals who have passion and drive to make positive change to our educational practices, take a look at our current opportunities if you think this could be you.
Successful products require Engineers and Designers to collaborate, often around materials choices: balancing performance with aesthetics for the ideal product experience. Engineering curricula don’t always recognise the importance of this connection. Engineers and Designers get only a limited understanding of each other’s work, while Materials is often an under-appreciated subject. Cambridge Engineering Professor, Mike Ashby, published the book “Materials and Design” in 2009 and has worked on several learning tools to inspire Design and Engineering students about each other’s subjects, and about materials. But it has proved hard to marry the quantitative engineering perspective with descriptions of aesthetics that are often variable and culturally-dependent.
At Granta, we recently ran a survey to explore the challenges of teaching sustainable development. Key findings, from 200 plus responses, indicated that academics would welcome more case studies with real data, and a global perspective on interlinked environmental and social impacts. The feedback was consistent with my own experience, as a PhD at the Centre for Sustainable Development where I did research in social and environmental impact assessment tools. I was also closely involved in teaching, and subsequently co-developed a start-up company focusing on software and learning. From these experiences, it was clear that software can have a large impact on teaching and outreach. I’m now working as Development Manager and Sustainability Consultant in the Education Team at Granta, collaborating with the academic community and Professor Mike Ashby to develop teaching resources that support the sustainable development subject-area.
Considerable investments are made in AM Research & Development to make high performance parts, research designs and materials, and optimize production processes. One of the central aims of this R&D is reducing the variability of processes and producing unique parts ‘right first time’, leaving no room for error. Progress in this area requires effective use of large quantities of specialist information. First, you must understand the fast-evolving landscape of machines and materials in order to set up a research or manufacturing project. These programs then generate huge amounts of data: material properties, process parameters, test data, simulation results, and on qualification of parts. How can we make best use of this data? And how can we best leverage process simulations, ensuring traceability for both virtual and test data?
The final talk at the 2nd Asian Materials Education Symposium, delivered by Mr Gilbert Teo of Singapore Polytechnic, centered on the benefits of peer-based learning and, more specifically, re-designing a course to encourage students to learn from each other. This method of learning moves away from the conventional student vs teacher stereotype and explores the role of a facilitator and how we can incorporate technology. Not only was this a reflective way to end the highly successful Symposium, but it sparked a great deal of discussion. With students acting more like consumers and wanting the best learning experiences from their education, engaging them is more important than ever.
Granta recently wrapped-up its participation in Accelerated Metallurgy, a European Union (EU) collaborative project focused on speeding up discovery of new alloys. What lessons did we learn?
Welcome to the third in our series in which we meet the Granta team. We spoke with our colleague Rhys to find out everything, from what he most enjoys about being a Software Tester to which historical figure provides him with a daily dose of inspiration. We’re always looking for like-minded individuals who have passion and drive to make positive changes to our software development; take a look at our current opportunities if you think this could be you
You may have seen that we just announced MI:Workflow, one of the most significant enhancements to the GRANTA MI platform we’ve ever made. Our aim is to give people control over the process of digitalizing materials information across their organization – helping them manage not only materials information, but also the processes required to ensure that information is requested, collected, approved, and released in a controlled, secure, traceable manner.
I recently presented at a web seminar hosted by Granta’s partners at Dassault Systèmes, and it raised an interesting question about the materials property data needed by simulation analysts. We were looking, in particular, at the Abaqus/CAE® software. Its users want accurate material properties for use in their CAE software. But they also want confidence in that data – to know that it comes from a reliable source. And their companies want control: i.e., to ensure that all of their analysts are using data that is consistent, up-to-date, and traceable should simulation results ever need to be reviewed or updated. How can we meet these various requirements without disrupting well-established workflows and processes?