Although this is of course a textbook aimed at materials science students, it is also of real interest to many others. I got it out of curiosity, as I teach art, archaeology and environmental ethics. It is good to stretch the mind. I found this book had elements that informed each one of the classes I teach, and so think it is worth taking a closer look at what the textbook covers and summarize it for others for whom this is an arcane area of study. What is material science and design about, and how does it intersect environmental issues? What can I learn from the book? As a layperson, I found the text invaluable in helping me close the gap on a better understanding of an area that is critical for scientists, educators, environmentalists, industry, and policymakers to understand. Sometimes people disdain textbooks, but this book is an excellent example of how textbooks can bring wide-ranging related materials and synthesize them into one book. This is a rather lengthy summary, so I apologize in advance, but I think some might find this useful.
Chapter 1, "Introduction: Material Dependence" - A brief history of materials, learned dependency and reliance on nonrenewable materials, history of increasing dependence on materials and energy; most materials come from nonrenewable resources, which though voluminous, are being consumed at ever greater rates due to population increase and increasing global standards of living. I noted with interest Figure 1.1 which shows the history of when materials were first used, from the Stone Age to nano materials of today. This hooked me as an archaeologist. The great switch from dependence on renewable to nonrenewable materials during the start of the industrial revolution (Fig. 1.2).
Chapter 2, "Resource Consumption and its Drivers"- Resource consumption, exponential growth; doubling times, reserves as resource base and resource life: explanation and modeling; the life cycle of products- extraction, synthesis, manufacture, transport, use, disposal or recycling; Fig. 2.1- annual world production of 23 materials on which industrialized society depends, for example; world consumption of energy by source and use, types of energy, efficiency factors; water demands; factors that move resources into and out of resource classification: commodity price, improved technology, production costs, legislation (environmental laws), and depletion, the latter including resource criticality (time to exhaustion) and interaction with market forces.
Chapter 3, "The Materials Life Cycle"- The material life cycle; life cycle assessment (LCA) details and difficulties; a streamlined LCA matrix for assessment (material resources, energy use; strategy for eco-selection of materials; LCA software available
Extraction/production, manufacture, use, disposal (includes recycling).
Chapter 4, "End of First Life: A Problem or a Resource?"- The question of waste and what to do with it- landfill, combustion, recycling, reengineering, reuse- What determines product life? End-of-first life options, the problem of packaging, recycling, including a survey of recycling marks for the most commonly recycled materials (that triangle-arrow symbol with numbers) and appendix of recycle mark designations.
Chapter 5, "The Long Reach of Legislation" - Legislation and regulation, covers growing awareness and legislative response with a list of landmark publications such as The Limits to growth: A report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind, Silent Spring, and the The Kyoto Protocol: International Climate Policy for the 21st Centuryl; international treaties, protocols and conventions; national standards, directives, taxes and trading tools; economic instruments such as taxes and trading schemes; the consequences, notably the burden of compliance on industry.
Chapter 6, "Ecodata: Values, Sources, Precision" - Decision making requires data, and thus data precision; the importance of mathematical evaluation of data, recalibrating expectations, the eco-attributes of materials; energy and CO2 footprints of energy, transport, and use; exploring the data: property charts.
Chapter 7, "Eco-audits and Eco-audit Tools"- ecoaudits with several case studies, including a plastic bottle of water, electric kettle, coffee maker, space heater, and auto bumpers, family car, wind turbine payback time, and computer-aided eco-auditing, with the CES eco-audit tool as an appendix; introduction of methods of eco-audits that assess product life phase by phase and rapid alternative comparisons.
Chapter 8, "Selection Strategies" - the selection strategy in making a decision when designing a product- database, constraints, objective, documentation; useful exercise on choosing a car, principles of materials selection, selection criteria and material property charts, resolving conflicting objectives: tradeoff methods, five useful charts such as the Modulus Density Chart, and computer-aided selection methods.
Chapter 9, "Eco-informed Materials Selection" - illustration of methods from chapter 8 in several case studies that show ways of using the materials: which bottle for which liquid; auto crash barriers; materials for eco-car shells; heating and cooling; transportation- there are a lot of mathematical equations in this chapter, vital to the practice of this discipline.
Chapter 10, "Sustainability: Living on Renewables" - What does "sustainability" really mean? Sustainability is perhaps the most overused and abused/misused word today- most agree with the Brundtland Report's statement: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This chapter examines the concept of sustainable development, the ecological metaphor, sustainable energy, sustainable materials. Ultimately we are reaching limits in the way we currently operate- and this statement comes from an internationally respected materials scientist.
Chapter 11, "The Bigger Picture: Future Options" - Materials value- why do we value materials so little? Material price and product price; carbon, energy, and GDP- growing material consumption per person worldwide; gathering clouds: threats (population growth, oil and gas, water, land, climate change, national security) and opportunities (predictive modeling, carbon-free energy, science and technology, the wealth of nations, the digital economy, and the extent of human adaptability).
Last chapter- Chapter 12, "Material Profiles" - 47 two-page data sheets for engineering the various material families of metals and alloys, polymers, ceramics and glasses, hybrids: composites, foams and natural materials- description, image, table of mechanical, thermal and electrical properties, and table of properties relating to environmental issues.
Finally, there is an appendix of "Useful Numbers and Conversions." The book is really the initial approach for two more advanced textbooks for materials science, Materials Selection in Mechanical Design, Third Editionand Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design. Software is also available to accompany this text (CES Edu 09) for further teaching and learning; that software also made many of the book's useful charts.
Although this is a textbook written for students of material engineering, it provides the general reader the facts about resource use and design choices. Such a resource is vitally important in this age of environmental crisis, with so many unsubstantiated opinions flying left and right in public discourse. This textbook is a gateway to better understanding. Highly recommended.