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Materials and the Environment: Eco-informed Material Choice [Paperback]

Michael F. Ashby
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Materials and the Environment, Second Edition: Eco-informed Material Choice Materials and the Environment, Second Edition: Eco-informed Material Choice 3.5 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

February 17, 2009 1856176088 978-1856176088 1
Addressing the growing global concern for sustainable engineering, Materials and the Environment is the first book devoted exclusively to the environmental aspects of materials. With in-depth coverage of such topics as material consumption and its drivers, the material lifecycle, eco-informed material selection, renewable materials and sustainability, and legislative and regulatory aspects, along with eco-profiles of more than 60 widely used materials, this book will appeal to professional materials engineers and product designers who now, more than ever before, need to consider the environmental implications of materials in their designs.

* The first book devoted solely to the environmental aspects of materials and their selection, production, use and disposal, by noted materials authority Mike Ashby.

* Introduces methods and tools for thinking about and designing with materials within the context of their role in products and the environmental consequences.

* Contains numerous case studies showing how the methods discussed in the book can be applied to real-world situations.

* Includes full-color data-sheets for 60 of the most widely used materials, featuring such environmentally relevant information as their annual production and reserves, embodied energy and process energies, carbon footprints, and recycling data.

* The tools developed in the text are implemented in the CES EduPack Eco Design Edition software and new Eco Audit Tool available from Granta Design.

Editorial Reviews


"Like Ashby's other textbooks, the information is reasoned, clearly presented and "chunked" into digestible sizes for easy assimilation. Best of all are his modulus-density charts with helpful selection criteria, and a chapter devoted to highly useful material profiles that make comparisons between materials actually enjoyable. Materials and the Environment is structured for classroom use, but I find it to be one of the most practical guides to the subject that it should be a desk reference in every design office."--IFAI's Fabric Architecture

About the Author

Royal Society Research Professor Emeritus at Cambridge University and Former Visiting Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, London, UK

Mike Ashby is sole or lead author of several of Elsevier's top selling engineering textbooks, including Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design, Materials Selection in Mechanical Design, Materials and the Environment, and Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing and Design. He is also coauthor of the books Engineering Materials 1&2, and Nanomaterials, Nanotechnologies and Design.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1 edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856176088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856176088
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peak Everything? July 21, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wal-Mart has just stated that it will be requiring all of its suppliers to provide a "green rating" on all of the products it sells, and the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Cap and Trade energy bill. A book like this is very timely for most engineering students, who must, over time, learn to make do with less: fewer materials with less embodied energy at all cycles of a product's or project's life cycle.

I approach this book as an investor in raw materials and a student of Peak Oil. I was impressed with this book for several reasons. First, the book helps to build an awareness that resource constraints will never allow the whole world to live as we do in the West - there simply are not enough resources. Elites perhaps, but not 90% of the world's population based upon tillable land under acreage, water, oil consumption, copper, etc. Second, as a mining investor, I enjoyed the second chapter about reserves, resource base, and resource life. The emphasis on water was quite helpful as well - another growing area of scarcity. One critique of the author's assumptions - he believes that the only time free markets are not in effect for commodities is when cartels try to squeeze prices upward. What happens when cartels squeeze prices downward, as in the case of the Federal Reserve (and other Central Banks) when they suppress the gold price?

Chapter 3 deals with the Life Cycle Assessment, looking at the total amount of energy consumed in the production of materials, manufacture, use, and disposal. For my purposes, I am primarily concerned with energy consumption (embodied energy), but certainly those of a greener bent are welcome to theorize about the impact of carbon outputs from this material as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Materials Science and Environmental Issues July 17, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work by Material Selection guru July 15, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Only Ashby could have written a book like this. He is the guru of Material Selection and has authored several books on this topic. His "Material Selection in Mechanical Design" is a required read in almost all of the Mechanical/Materials Engineering programs.

I am a Materials Engineer, but not in a technical role anymore. However, being in the energy industry I got interested in this book and found it to be very useful and helpful. You certainly must have some engineering background to understand the technical depth, charts, and material properties described by Ashby.

Ashby has upgraded his material selection strategy by adding following aspects:
- Embodied Energy per unit volume in the material
- Amount of Carbon released in atmosphere by a certain material.

Right from the start he has successfully developed his point by stressing on the importance of energy required to synthesize different materials, and the amount of Carbon released in this process. The data used in the form of tables, charts, etc. is very convincing.

I liked mainly Chapter 8, 8, & 10 which form the main meat of this book. These are Selection Strategies, Eco-Informed Material Selection, and Sustainability respectively.

In one review here, it is said that the some technical data in this book is not correct. I have not gone in that depth to cross-check the values/data-points.

Exercises at the end of each chapter are good and thought-provoking.

Overall, I think this will make a great read for the engineers who need to make an "eco informed material choice".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant textbook
This one is not light reading in any regard. Be prepared to study, to work, to change the world. Ashby has delivered a really terrific textbook on the subject. Read more
Published on May 1, 2010 by Cecil Bothwell
4.0 out of 5 stars arrived in good condition
took a little while to get here, but product was in good condition. No complaints
Published on February 21, 2010 by Rain Maker
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive
Materials and the Environment is a comprehensive, well-researched book on the subject. If you ever wanted to know about the life-cycle of materials, this book is for you.
Published on December 3, 2009 by Norma Lehmeierhartie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introductory Textbook
This is a great textbook that would probably be appropriate for a first or second year undergraduate engineering or material science course. Read more
Published on October 13, 2009 by ephemeral
4.0 out of 5 stars Materials and the Environment.
"Exponential doubling plays nasty tricks . . . consumption cannot continue to double forever. And extracting and processing any material, whether plentiful or scarce, uses... Read more
Published on August 31, 2009 by Wesley L. Janssen
3.0 out of 5 stars Course Textbook
The content is interesting and informative, but the presentation (format) is a textbook. That's OK if you're enrolled in the corresponding course, but it doesn't work as well if... Read more
Published on August 17, 2009 by Dave Edmiston
3.0 out of 5 stars A textbook for the future - the title says it all.
When I picked up this book, I didn't realize that it was a textbook. I just wanted a reference book on choosing materials for construction (my old house, that is). Read more
Published on August 14, 2009 by Glenda Boozer
4.0 out of 5 stars Information
Mr. Ashby writes a soild informative text book. It would be great for setting the ground work for making ecological informed decisions when thinking about materials and how they go... Read more
Published on August 5, 2009 by Thomas( Doc Savage 45)
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Textbook for Instructors to Use
While this text is written in a clear, simple fashion this is not a book for the average consumer but for students of engineering and materials sciences. Read more
Published on August 5, 2009 by TammyJo Eckhart
4.0 out of 5 stars Respectable, college level text book
Written in an obvious text book style, this book would most likely be of use to Engineering students working on their Bachelor's degree and/or those professors teaching the same... Read more
Published on July 27, 2009 by Holly Lewis
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