Designing advanced multifunctional materials and products in an integrated fashion starting from the conceptual stage provides designers with increased flexibility to achieve system performance goals that were not previously achievable. Today however, product designers commonly select more or less advanced materials from selection charts or catalogs, rather than designing them along with the product from the conceptual stage on. In order to increase a designer’s flexibility in the conceptual stage and render conceptual materials design more systematic, hence less ad-hoc and intuitive, the main contribution is the development of a systematic approach to the integrated design of material and product concepts from a systems perspective. This systematic approach is focused on developing multilevel function structures, including the material levels. Based on functional analysis, abstraction and synthesis, multiscale phenomena and associated governing solution principles are mapped to functional relationships. Hence, multilevel function structures are embodied into principal solution alternatives based on comprehensive identification and integration of phenomena and associated governing solution principles occurring at multiples levels and time and length scales. In this paper, the function-based approach to integrated design of material and product concepts is illustrated through the systematic design of reactive material containment system concepts. Having developed an overall reactive material containment system function structure, a more detailed function structure on the materials level is created. For dominating functional relationships at the materials level, governing solution principles are identified on multiple scales. The most promising solution principles are then classified in morphological charts. Combining solution principles in a systematic fashion including the materials level, product and material system concepts are identified. The most promising system concepts, in other words the principal solution alternatives that narrow the gap to desired system performance goals, are selected and illustrated in concept selection charts. A selected material and product system concept is then characterized in terms of its specific properties, which are to be tailored to the functional requirements and performance goals in subsequent embodiment design processes. By developing concepts of the product and material as an integrated system, materials design becomes more systematic and hence less ad-hoc and intuitive. At the same time, designers are enabled to realize new functionality and achieve system performance goals that were not previously achievable.

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