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Selection of Materials of

Factors affecting the selection of
materials for Engineering Purpose
1. Properties of Materials
2. Performance Requirements
3. Material’s Reliability
4. Safety
5. Physical attributes
6. Environmental conditions
7. Availability
8. Disposability and recyclability
9. Economic factors
1. Properties of Material
• The most important factor is the properties of the
materials in relation to their intended use.
• The properties of the material define the
characteristics of the material and form a basis for
predicting behavior of the material under different
• The important properties are:
– Mechanical
– Thermal
– Chemical
– Electrical
– Radiation
2. Performance Requirements
• The material must be capable of embodying or performing it
function without failure.
• Eg: A component or the part to be used in a furnace must
withstand high temperatures.
• While it is not always to assign quantitative values to these
functional requirements, i.e in the form of specified values of
mechanical, physical, electrical or thermal properties.

3. Material’s Reliability
• A material in a given application must also be reliable.
• Reliability is the degree of probability that a product will
remain stable enough to function in service for the intended
life without failure.
• If the material corrodes under certain conditions, then it is
neither stable or reliable for those conditions.
4. Safety
• A material must safely perform its function, otherwise the
failure of product made out of it may be catastrophic in air-
planes and high pressure systems.
• Ex: Material that gives off sparks when struck are safety
hazard in a coal mine.

5. Physical attributes
• Physical attributes such as size, weight and appearance serve
as functional requirements for every application.
• Ex: Gyroscope or flywheel is directly related to the weight of
the material used.
6. Environmental conditions
• The environment in which a product operates strongly
influence service performance.
• Humidity, water, or chemicals can cause corrosion and
subsequent failure of the materials.

7. Availability
• A material must be
– readily available
– available in large enough quantity
• for the intended application.
• In times of scarcity the material will assume increasing
importance and it would be impossible to complete the
project in time.
8. Disposability and Recyclability
• These two are the newest constraints and increasingly
important factors in the material selection.
• Ex: Nuclear material.

9. Economic Factors
• Cost is the important and most often controlling factor a given
materials application problem.
• There is a cost beyond which one cannot go beyond
prescribed limit that can be paid for a material.
• If it exceeds the limit the design has to be changed to alter
• The total original cost of the material for given application can
be made upto two components:
– Cost of the material
– Cost of processing the material into finished product
Material Selection - Process
• Analysis of the materials for the required problem
• Translation of the materials application requirements
to materials property values
• Selection of candidate materials
• Evaluation of the candidate materials
Evaluation Phases
• Although no universally used formal
procedure has been developed for the
evaluation operation.
• It is divided into 3 phases:
1. Screening
2. Selection
3. Design data phases
• In the screening phase, one starts with a large number
of candidate materials and proceeds to narrow them
down to select a few that looks promising.

• In the selection phase, detailed evaluation of the

candidate materials takes place. Properties and
characteristics of the various materials are related to
performance requirements to finally arrive at the
optimum material for the application.

• In the design-data phase, the pertinent properties of

the selected material are determined in detail and
depth to obtain statistically reliable measures of the
material’s performance under the specific operational,
environmental, and processing conditions.
Systematic Material Selection Methods
1. Weighted property indices
• It is method of evaluating materials in which each parameter is assigned a
certain weight, depending on its importance, then individual property
weights of each material are summed up to give a comparative materials
performance figure.
• A key step in weighted index is the determination of performance
requirements and properties that are important for the product.
• The requirement are separated into 3 screening groups:
– Go-no-go Ex: Corrosion resistance, weldability, and brazability
– Non discriminating Ex: Availability and producibility
– Discriminating parameters Ex: strength, toughness and cost
• Parameters are constraints.
• They involve the certain fixed minimum value which a material must meet.
• These include such properties as Any merit in excess of a minimum level is
of no special advantage
Go-No-Go Relative Rating Number Material Rating
Screening (Rating Number X Weighting Factor) Number

Toughness (5)
Sum Rel Rating

Strength (5)

Strength (4)
Stiffness (5)


Stability (5)

As Welded
Fatigue (4)

Alloy and

Stress (3)

Cost (1)
Condition S Signma Rating
• Once the various parameters are established, overall rating of the candidate
materials is arrived at by means of a rating table.
• The materials are rated as S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory)
• Each discriminating parameters is assigned a weighting factor, depending on
• Each of the rating is assigned depending on how closely it meets the requirement.
• 1 for poorest to 5 for the best.
• The rating is multiplied with the weighting factor for each parameter.
• The final rating number for each candidate is obtained by taking sum of the relative
rating numbers and dividing it by the sum of the weighting factor used.
• The material with the highest material rating number is the optimum material.
2. Failure Analysis
• It is a method of materials selection based on predicting and
anticipating all the ways the product could fail and then
selecting materials so that failure does not occur.
• It is a systematic approach to the measurement, control, and
improvement of reliability.
• The theory is based on the fact that materials are lowest
common denominator in the failure of a product or
• The product failure is analyzed by studying the susceptibility
of the material for the applied stress.
• This can be considered as the “back ward method” of
material selection.
• In this method every detail of the functional requirements
and the operating environment has to be analyzed as well as
the complete processing, fabrication, raw materials and
vendors history.
• The three techniques that have been developed to carry out
failure analysis are:
1. Environmental Profile:
• This study is done by exposing the material to different
environmental conditions.
• It includes temperature, time and chemical environment.
• Eg: effect of different lubricants on materials- whether it can
work in vibrating condition and do not cause galvanic
2. Fabrication and Process flow diagram:
• It is a step by step flow diagram that is not only made for
controlling in-plant processing but also the vendor processing.
3. Failure model:
• This is the study of all possible failures that can occur .
• The failures are described in terms of the causes of failure i.e
functional failure of the material, failure resulting from
inability to withstand a particular environment, or failure
caused by improper processing.
General classification:
1. According to Material
– Steel sheet, copper sheet, aluminum sheet etc.,
2. According to Thickness:
– Thick sheet ( above 4.75 mm thickness)
– Fine sheet ( upto 3 mm)
3. According to surface treatment
– Galvanized, plated, enameled, hot galvanized, chrome plated
or coated.
4. According to profile
– Buckled plate, channeled plate, arched plate, waffle sheet
metal, plates with projections, corrugated sheet.
5. According to use
– Boiler plate, fairing plate, ship-building plate etc.,
Product from steel mills are standardized in
terms of shape norms.
1. Bar steels
They are marketed in the form of rounds, flats,
square rods, hot-rolled, forged or bright states.
2. Profile steels
They are marketed as
1. Angles
2. U-sections
3. T-sections
4. Z-sections
5. Double T-sections in different sizes
Market form of supply of ferrous materials

a) Cast Iron
Cast iron is available as
 Cast plates
 Pipes
 Short bars
 Hollow cylinders
 Pipe fittings
 Pots
 Pulleys etc.,
b) Low and medium carbon steels
• Low and medium carbon steels are available in the market
in the following forms:
• Semis – ingots, slabs, blooms, billets
• Sections – Equal angles, Unequal angles, channels, beams
• Rolled products – Bars, Flats, Squares, Hot rolled black
bars, Bright drawn bars
• Flat products – Plates, Strips, Sheets
• Drawn products – Wires
• Track material – Fish plate bars, Bearing plate bars, Fish
plates, Light rails, Crane rails, Sleeper bars etc.,
• Other items – Tin plates, Pipes, Tubes, Galvanized sheets,
Nails, Nuts and bolts, Washers, Shafts and axles, Expanded
metal, Perforated sheets
c) High carbon steels
High carbon steels are available in following forms:
• Black rolled bars of round and square
• Black strip
• Spring wire
• Short bars and plates
c) Alloy steels and special steels
1. Forged products – Bars, square, round or flat
Die blocks and Rings
2. Rolled products – Either as hot rolled round
concerned square billets, or hot rolled rounds and
3. Sheet mill products – Hot rolled sheets and plates or
cold rolled sheets