Materials Selection and Sustentability


The students should become aware of the importance of a Circular Economy of Materials by understanding the consequences
selecting materials for a given use.
Considering the wide variety of existing materials, this is only possible in a rational manner using a selection methodology that
systematically ranks materials and processing technologies using figures of merit.
By the end of this curricular unit, the student shall possess knowledge and skills allowing him to:
- Understand the Circular Economy of Materials concept;
- Be able to apply a Materials Selection methodology;
- Be able to perform a simplified Life Cycle Analysis of materials used for an application;
- Be able to interpret objectively the available data on a subject, even when incomplete, to make informed technical decisions;
- To know the implications of decisions taken in the field of Materials Engineering to relevant societal issues.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Alexandre José da Costa Velhinho


Weekly - 4

Total - 68

Teaching language





Michael F. Ashby, “Materials and Sustainable Development”, 1st edition, ed. Elsevier – Butterworth Heinemann (2016), 312 pp. [ISBN 978-0-08-100176-9]

Michael F. Ashby, “Materials Selection in Mechanical Design", 4th edition, ed. Elsevier – Butterworth Heinemann (2005), 603 pp. [ISBN 0-7506-6168-2]


Michael F. Ashby, “Materials and the Environment – Eco-informed Materials Choice", 1st edition, ed. Elsevier – Butterworth Heinemann (2009), 400 pp. [ISBN 978-1-85617-608-8]

Michael F. Ashby, Kara Johnson, “Materials and Design – The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design", 1st edition, ed. Elsevier – Butterworth Heinemann (2010), 344pp. [ISBN 978-1-85617-497-8]

Teaching method

Two types of lessons will be considered: theoretical and practical.
Theoretical lessons will consist of lectures. Further treatment of the various topics will take place in the practical lessons, through the realization of debates. Also, computational work will be performed by students under the guidance of the teacher, corresponding to a sequence of case studies, using for the purpose the CES EduPack software, specifically designed to implement the Ashby selection methodology.
In parallel, the students will develop a project related to the topics in the curricular unit, to be presented by the end of the semester.

Evaluation method

Minimum attendance conditions: 90% of the classes.
Continuous assessment: Test 1 (T1); Test 2 (T2); Project (P).
Conditions for exemption from final examination: ND ≥ 9.5 with ND = (T1 + T2 + P) / 3.
Final mark: N = ND or N = EF (if the student is not exempted from final examination).

Subject matter

Material and process selection, attending to design, performance, cost and environmental constraints.
Databases for materials selection.
Graphic representation of properties as a basis for a selection strategy: Ashby’s selection system.
Selection methodology application to real-life situations.
Selection methodology as a tool for the development of new materials, processes and applications.


Programs where the course is taught: