Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing, and Design

Review by Dr Fred Veer, Technical University of Delft

For the dc-mat newsletter, May 2007

The number of basic materials science books has grown enormously the last years. Most of these are very good books. For a new book to contend in this saturated market you need to have something special :

  • a well known author
  • a novel approach
  • a link to some good software to accompany the book

This book meets all those criteria. The main author Michael Ashby, professor at Cambridge University, is of course one of the most famous materials scientists around. Prof Ashby is well noted for his books about materials selection in design, which for most engineers is the most important aspect. The novel approach in this book is the focus on engineering properties which are then put into a scientific context.

The book itself is designed to work with the Cambridge Engineering Selector software. This well known software package has been used to generate many of the figures in the book and is used in many exercises which allow students to explore relations ships. An example is exercise E4.14

Sanitychecks for data. A text reports that Nickel, with a melting point of 1720 K has a modulus of 5500 GPa,. Use the E-Tm correlation of the previous question to check the sanity of this claim. What would you expect it to be ?

Considering the complex issues involved in this it is clear that the book is aimed at teaching students to think properly about and how to use the tools available in a logical setting.

The book is not designed to be an exhaustive reference and only has some 500 pages in a clear and easy to read format. As the course book for an introduction course it will be eminently suitable and it will give students the basis for more advanced work in materials science, materials selection, and processing.