Difficulty in material selection is often mentioned as a reason for lengthy design cycles. Problems dealing with material selection play a central role in almost all design and are generally tackled using the experience-based judgment of a designer. Better methods for material selection are needed, however, because demands of efficient operation require judicious use of materials and there is increasing pressure to reduce costs. To date, material selection and dimensional synthesis of artifacts have mostly been tackled sequentially rather than concurrently. In this paper, a domain-independent, algorithmic method to guide a designer in the material selection phase of design is presented. The method enables concurrent determination of the material and the dimensions for an artifact. The approach, applicable to any material selection and design problem, is illustrated by a case study dealing with the design of a component made of composite materials.

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