Design of Universe Series data modules

What’s special about the Universe Series?

Granta’s Universe Series are superior data modules that you won’t find elsewhere. They are designed for like-to-like comparisons across the whole spectrum of material and processing possibilities. Typical material data sources do not allow this—the most common reason being ‘holes in the data’—different properties are reported for different materials, making comparison difficult to achieve.

Universe data modules solve the problem by conforming to strict design principles. These are reviewed below, with reference to the MaterialUniverse data module.

  1. Complete spectrum represented. The MaterialUniverse data module contains or has a representative of virtually every commercial engineering material in every class. This means that you can be sure that you have considered all material possibilities for any particular application.
  2. Each material is represented only once. Multiple instances of the same material from different producers are consolidated into one representative record. This reduces the complexity of the engineer's search for the best material.
  3. Property ranges. Properties of real materials are seldom exact—there are inevitable variations from batch to batch and manufacturer to manufacturer. These variations are captured in a Universe database by a range—the range may be small for a property such as density, but relatively large for strength or toughness.
  4. Complete property set. In MaterialUniverse data, there is a value for every property on the datasheet. If the value is not known experimentally, it has been estimated by using intelligent estimating techniques developed by Professor Ashby and his team. These use well-established correlations between material properties based on their fundamental physics.
  5. Quality checks. Granta has examined hundreds of material datasets over the years from various sources and without exception they contain errors—sometimes as much as 1000%! To minimize errors, the same correlations between properties are used to check that properties for specific material classes fall within acceptable ranges.
  6. Normalization. All properties are presented in the same unit system of choice. Properties that are subtly different in different materials classes are equivalenced to enable comparison.
  7. Hierarchy. A sensible hierarchy allows ‘expansion’ into more detailed properties in specialist materials areas.

Applying these principles requires a great amount of work in data collection and processing. The MaterialUniverse data module represents many man-years of effort stretching back to work at the University of Cambridge before Granta was founded in 1994.