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Methods To Incorporate Green Engineering In Materials Selection And Design

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Using IT to Enhance Design Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.856.1 - 7.856.7



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Stephen Kampe

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Main Menu Session 1625

A Method to Incorporate Green Engineering in Materials Selection & Design

S.L. Kampe Materials Science and Engineering Department Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0237


The selection of a material-of-construction for any engineering component or system will have environmental implications. In some instances, the design objective and environmental stewardship are directly related and mutually compatible; a design that serves to minimize costs associated with the waste generated or energy consumed by an engineering system would be one such example. In many other instances, however, the primary design objective may have little apparent relationship to environmental issues; an example in this regard might be an objective which seeks to maximize the structural efficiency (e.g., strength, size, lifetime) of some component or system. In reality, both situations have direct environmental relevance since their objectives may further rely on (or assume) the manufacture of selected materials and their associated availability in a form suitable for the given application. Minimally, the availability of a material will involve the expenditure of energy to convert the material from its raw form (e.g., ore) into the specified (manufactured) form or shape.

Green engineering represents a design philosophy or approach where the implications of a particular design or material selection are considered on a total lifetime or “cradle-to-grave” basis. That is, while a certain material may offer advantages in terms of prior practice or in- service performance, it may additionally require substantial industrial and/or societal investment in terms of production, disposal, and public health. Thus, it is appropriate and ethical for engineers to consider such issues at the design stage of product development, since they are optimally positioned to make decisions in which environmentally-responsible options can be considered and potentially implemented.

This paper illustrates a method whereby the environmental load associated with the selection of a specific material can be routinely assessed as part of the overall decision-making process used in engineering design. The technique can be generically applied to any application or situation which utilizes traditional engineering constitutive equations which contain both extensive (design requirements) and intensive (scale-normalized material properties) variable groups. The specific example presented in this paper (i.e., the selection of a replace ment material for asbestos insulation in habitable buildings) represents a case study where a diversity of goals within the purview of green engineering can be demonstrated. Specifically, the case study seeks to resolve a public health issue (asbestos rep lacement), achieve the minimization of in-service heat losses (energy conservation), and considers the energy expenditures associated with the availability of certain candidate replacement materials (upstream energy conservation). The incorporation of the latter component in material

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Kampe, S. (2002, June), Methods To Incorporate Green Engineering In Materials Selection And Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10560

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