In this work, we explore simultaneous design and material selection by posing it as an optimization problem. The underlying principles for our approach are Ashby’s material selection procedure and structural optimization. For the simplicity and ease of initial implementation of the general procedure, truss structures under static load are considered in this work in view of maximum stiffness, minimum weight/cost and safety against failure. Along the lines of Ashby’s material indices, a new design index is derived for trusses. This helps in choosing the most suitable material for any design of a truss. Using this, both the design space and material database are searched simultaneously using optimization algorithms. The important feature of our approach is that the formulated optimization problem is continuous even though the material selection is an inherently discrete problem.

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