The Synthesizer Tool

The Synthesizer Tool includes the Part Cost Estimator and the Hybrid Synthesizer Models—and it also allows you to add your own models.

Part Cost Estimator

The new Part Cost Estimator helps students to think through the cost of different materials and manufacturing process choices in early-stage or conceptual design, when design details have not yet been defined. It introduces students to ideas including the effects of part size and complexity, off-the-shelf and custom forms, batch size and waste recycling.

Use the Part Cost Estimator in  early stage design when multiple materials are under consideration

The model results from an industry collaboration with organizations providing expertise in metals, plastics, and composites. The Part Cost Estimator calculates the cost for a part, taking account of: the material selected, up to two shaping processes, part size and complexity, off-the-shelf and custom forms, credit for recycling manufacturing waste, and production batch size. The materials can be any of the thousands covered by the MaterialUniverse data module of CES EduPack. The Part Cost Estimator generates ('synthesizes') a series of material records corresponding to the specified parameters. These can then be plotted against each other or other materials on property charts (as illustrated above) to study the impact of processing on part cost, and on the trade-offs between cost and other properties.

Hybrid Synthesizer Models

The study of composites and hybrid materials is becoming increasingly important in engineering and design courses. This innovative tool helps predict the performance of sandwich panels, cellular structures, composites, and other hybrid materials. Integration with CES EduPack makes comparison of Hybrid Synthesizer model predictions with ‘standard’ materials simple, straightforward, and rational. The tool allows teachers and students to explore the benefits of using different hybrid materials and structures, for example to aid lightweight design.

The Hybrid Synthesizer predicts the performance of sandwich panels, as shown here, helping students compare properties with other materials

The Hybrid Synthesizer Models allow students to predict the performance of hybrid materials and structures based on the performance of constituent materials selected from any of the thousands of covered by the CES EduPack Materials and Process Database, or your own materials. A simple 'Wizard' user interface makes the entry of parameters required by the Hybrid Synthesizer straightforward.

After the calculation, data for the predicted materials are stored on datasheets, accessed via the standard data browsing tools within CES EduPack. Data for these materials can be plotted together with the rest of the database, encouraging students to make quick and easy comparison of the hybrid structures with other materials (as in the graph above). Records created by the Hybrid Synthesizer Models can also be specified in subsequent models, enabling their performance in other hybrid structures to be evaluated.

An interactive wizardThe Hybrid Synthesizer Models help to enhance teaching on:

  • Sandwich panels
  • Foams and Octet lattices
  • Unidirectional, quasi isotropic and particulate composites (using a 'simple bounds' model)
  • Multi-layer materials (2,3,4,5,6,7-layer)
    note, this is not for modelling multilayer continuous fiber composites with different fiber orientations
  • Short fiber composites (aligned & random fiber)
  • Closed-cell foam Honeycombs (expanded & extruded)
  • Dual material lattice (controlled thermal expansion)

Adding your own models

The Synthesizer Tool enables the addition of your own models for calculating material properties based on the data stored in CES EduPack, including your own cost models.

A 'Model Writer's Guide' is available, providing guidance on developing your own models for research or teaching.


Initial development work on the Hybrid Synthesizer Models was supported with funding and partner input from the European Union Project MANUDIRECT. More