Contexts are a starting point to inform possible outcomes and situations in relation to a design brief. Within a context, many different elements need to be considered before the design of a product can take place.
Designers are required to use their understanding of material properties to make informed selections when designing products. When making a selection, two types of properties must be taken into consideration:
|Durability||The ability of a material to withstand damage or wear|
|Ductility||The ability of a material to deform|
|Strength||The ability of a material to withstand forces without bending or breaking|
|Malleability||The ability of a material to deform without cracking|
|Stiffness||The ability of a material to hold its shape without bending|
|Brittleness||When a material cannot absorb energy and will result in the material breaking into pieces|
|Hardness||The ability of a material to withstand indentation, scratching and wear|
|Toughness||The ability of a material to withstand impact without breaking|
|Aesthetics||The appearance of a material, including colour and feel|
|Density||The amount of material contained in a set volume|
|Conductivity||The ability of a material to hold heat in or out (thermal) or the ability of electrical current to flow through a material (electrical)|
|Corrosion||The breakdown of a metal due to a reaction with water|
|Size||The measured dimensions of a material in two or three dimensions|
|Magnetic||The ability of a material to be attracted to a magnet|
The designer will consider many aspects when designing and developing a product, including the selection of a suitable manufacturing process and the use of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM).
The designer may wish to prototype the final product using the material of choice to test how it could be manufactured commercially and whether the mechanical and physical properties of the material are meeting performance requirements.
The designer will need to consider the scale of production of the final product to ensure the product is affordable to manufacture:
Consideration will then need to be made based on this to the material selection, the manufacturing processes and the associated running costs.
A designer may need to put a costing case study forward before a product is able to go to manufacture. Cost factors that need to be considered include:
A designer will need to consider the function of the product they are designing - why does it need to be designed (what is its purpose) and how is it going to work?
This will have a reflection on which materials and processes will be used, for example: