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Selection Of Materials For Construction

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Advanced Materials Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1046.1 - 14.1046.12

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Paper Authors

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Somnath Chattopadhyay Pennsylvania State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Selection of Materials for Construction ABSTRACT

A systematic way of selecting materials for construction of buildings has been presented. This involves a study of relevant physical and mechanical properties, and how the deflections and stresses are related to the applied loads. The strength and stiffness characteristics are then used to determine the composite parameters based on mechanical properties and these are then input to a computerized database to facilitate the selection process. It is shown that the materials that have been traditionally used for construction are indeed the optimum materials based on the computed mechanical composite parameters and cost. A few of the unfamiliar materials used in modern construction have been mentioned and the associated design philosophy has been outlined. The computerized database is CES EduPack 2008 and this activity forms a module in a course on Strength of Materials, in the section on material selection.


Selection of materials and manufacturing processes are important activities essential for structural design. Ashby (2005) was the first to demonstrate that a wide range of material properties could be collected and plotted on the same curve, where two individual material variables appear on the abscissa and the ordinate. Using this concept Granta Design (2008) has developed a software package CES EduPack which includes a wide range of data on materials, manufacturing processes and shapes for over 3000 engineering materials. The objective of the present study is exploring the use of the software CES EduPack in the selection of material for building construction. The task of the selection process is that of matching the choice of material to the requirements of design.

The traditional materials for buildings are metallic and non-metallic. The most widely used metallic material is plain carbon steel, because it compares favorably with other materials in terms of cost per unit weight, cost per unit volume as well cost per unit of strength. The versatility of steel, and its availability in a wide range of structural forms with reproducible properties, is also among the attractive characteristics that make it a popular construction material. Non metallic construction materials include primarily stone, brick, concrete and wood. These materials have complex composite microstructures that are not easily characterized but nonetheless affect their behavior in service. Stone is largely inhomogeneous and properties of two samples can vary considerably. This feature along with its low impact strength requires a high factor of safety for design. It has good compressive strength to provide resistance against crushing.

Chattopadhyay, S. (2009, June), Selection Of Materials For Construction Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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