Barbara Del Curto
Material selection is one of the core tasks in industrial product design practice since materials are the basis of manufactured artefacts. Over time, an increasing number of characteristics and attributes have been taken into consideration as competing and influent elements on the product’s material decision. However, even if the material selection can be efficiently supported by different methodologies, tools and platforms, still in the industrial strict routine, it is difficult to invest the right amount of time in scouting possible new material solutions to upgrade the production line.
This gap between theoretical approach and practical application of new materials influences significantly the shift towards a more sustainable development. In this paper, the material selection process has been analysed as a process within a sociocultural system (enterprise). All the collected information have been
mapped in cooperation with company employees to create a visual narrative of the whole work. The result, hence, is a synthesis map that provides a model for professionals to manage an aware material selection activity. The systemic view of the entire material selection process is then discussed: further improvements can be developed from the perspective of sustainable development and industrial/environmental interdependences.