CES Selector is based on methodologies and tools first developed by Professor Mike Ashby at the University of Cambridge, and his collaborators.
A key concept is that every materials decision should be:
- Exhaustive – i.e., rather than relying on “what I did last time” or on advice from a supplier, the decision should be rooted in a systematic analysis of available options, giving you confidence in your choice.
- Repeatable – good materials selection methodologies do not replace the knowledge and experience of materials experts; they seek to support and guide your choices. But they should eliminate error and inconsistency: if you repeat your analysis based on the same assumptions, you should get the same results.
- Auditable – you should be able to prove that your choice is the best available, and to communicate that fact clearly.
Achieving these goals requires us to think about two key aspects: materials data and systematic materials selection methods to apply that data.
CES Selector material property chart - helping you make and communicate material choices
MaterialUniverse, the dataset at the heart of CES Selector, has the following unique characteristics:
- Complete – every property on a datasheet is populated; there are no ‘holes’. Where necessary, data is estimated (and this fact is highlighted). You don’t miss out on possible materials due to missing data.
- Comparable – every datasheet has the same property set, compiled to the same standards, ensuring meaningful comparisons.
- All classes of materials data – one database covers metals, plastics, composites, ceramics, and more.
- Links to specialist data – MaterialUniverse covers generic material types, enabling a quick scan of materials space for likely options. It also links to records describing specific grades of those materials in other specialist databases so that you can rapidly assess candidate materials using more precise, detailed property data.
Systematic materials selection
Some key concepts:
- Function, objectives, and constraints – a structured approach to specifying your selection problem that can quickly ‘downselect’ from all available materials options and then identify those materials that best match your engineering application.
- Materials property charts – visual representations of material property space that help you to trade-off objectives and make the right choice.
- Performance indices – a key selection tool, these equations help you to define your engineering application so that you can identify the right material: a choice usually governed by combinations of two or more material properties.
- Repeatable process – the ‘Selection wizard’ tool in CES Selector helps ensure that you work through the selection process in a systematic manner.
Want to know more? The standard reference for materials selection is the book “Materials Selection in Mechanical Design” (5th edition) by M.F. Ashby, Butterworth Heinemann, 2016.