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11.7: Summary

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    • In this TLP you have learnt how and why to use materials-selection maps, and about the common merit indices used in conjunction with these maps. Simple merit indices have been derived and used to analyse the difference in applicability of various materials.
    • Many biomaterials show interesting properties and can outperform common engineering materials. You will have discovered why certain biomaterials have evolved to show these properties and you will be able to think about why other biomaterials may have certain properties.
    • You should now be aware of how to choose a shortlist of materials suitable for a specific application, and be able to decide which material out of a selection is most suited to a particular purpose. However, you should also be aware of the limitations of merit indices and materials-selection maps for choosing a material and be able to think of other practical considerations involved.

    Going further


    • Michael F. Ashby, Materials Selection In Mechanical Design, Pergamon Press, Second Edition, 1999.
    • U.G.K.Wegst and M.F.Ashby, The Mechanical Efficiency of Natural Materials, Philosophical Magazine, 21 July 2004, vol.84, No.21, 2167-2181.


    • MATTER Mechanics of Composite Materials - Fracture Behaviour.
    • MATTER Mechanics of Composite Materials - Load Transfer.


    • Silk biomechanics
      An article on the American Museum of Natural History website.
    • Wood
      Why wood is the world’s most environmentally friendly building material.
    • Spider silk
      An article on how spiders make their silk including pictures.
    • Viscid Silk
      Article on whether spider silk can be used in engineering applications.
    • Granta Design case studies by a former Cambridge student
      Selection of open access materials science case studies.

    This page titled 11.7: Summary is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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