A life cycle framework to support materials selection for Ecodesign: A case study on biodegradable polymers
ABSTRACT Nowadays society compels designers to develop more sustainable products. Ecodesign directs product design towards the goal of reducing environmental impacts. Within Ecodesign, materials selection plays a major role on product cost and environmental performance throughout its life cycle. This paper proposes a comprehensive life cycle framework to support Ecodesign in material selection. Dealing with new materials and technologies in early design stages, process-based models are used to represent the whole life cycle and supply integrated data to assess material alternatives, considering cost and environmental dimensions. An integrated analysis is then proposed to support decision making by mapping the best alternative materials according to the importance given to upstream and downstream life phases and to the environmental impacts. The proposed framework is applied to compare the life cycle performance of injection moulded samples made of four commercial biodegradable polymers with different contents of Thermo Plasticized Starch and PolyLactic Acid and a common fossil based polymer, Polypropylene. Instead of labelling materials just as “green”, the need to fully capture all impacts in the whole life cycle was shown. The fossil based polymer is the best economic alternative, but polymers with higher content of Thermo Plasticized Starch have a better environmental performance. However, parts geometry and EoL scenarios play a major role on the life cycle performance of candidate materials. The selection decision is then supported by mapping the alternatives.
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ABSTRACT: Concurrent Engineering (CE) is regarded as a systematic design approach which integrates concurrent design of product with the related processes which is able to accomplish product that can be produced at lower cost, shorter time and with higher quality and this achievement was termed as cost, time and quality (CTQ) improvement. Since its establishment, CE philosophy was well implemented in product development with traditional materials such as metals but up to date, the work on CE in composite product development is still limited. Hence, a review on the implementation of Concurrent Engineering (CE) approach in the development of composite products is presented in this paper which includes review of various studies of CE techniques in composite product development. In addition, the relationship between CE and Pugh total design method is discussed in the context of composite design. Moreover, publications related to materials selection, life cycle analysis and sustainability issues of composite materials are also reviewed whereby a section is devoted to highlight previous work on materials selection using Analytical Hierarchy Process method. It was observed that materials selection of composite materials is a very important activity as far as CE in composite product development. The use of various techniques and computer aided materials selection tools such as Analytical Hierarchy Process has helped designers to select the most optimum composite materials for engineering components. Furthermore, based on current trends in composites product development, the role of CE is expected to be more crucial to assist composites designers in achieving the design requirements from various stakeholders effectively and efficiently considering the expanding range of composite materials availability as well as realizing new potential for biocomposites applications through introduction of innovative alternative problem solving methods as part of the CE family.Materials and Design 06/2014; 58:161–167. DOI:10.1016/j.matdes.2014.01.059 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This paper discusses application of Carbon Footprint (CF) for quantification of the 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP100) associated with the life cycle of polylactic acid (PLA) trays for packaging of fresh foods. A comparison with polystyrene (PS)-based trays was done considering two different transport system scenarios for PLA-granule supply to the tray production firm: a transoceanic freight vessel and an intercontinental freight aircraft. Doing so enabled estimation of the influence of the transportation phase on the GHG-emission rate associated with the PLA-trays’ life cycle. From the assessment, the GWP100 resulted to be mainly due to PLA-granulate production and to its transportation to the tray manufacturing facility. Also, the study documented that, depending upon the transport system considered, the CF associated with the life cycle of the PLA trays can worsen so much that the latter are no longer GHG-emission saving as they are expected to be compared to the PS ones. Therefore, based upon the findings of the study, it was possible for the authors to understand the importance and the need of accounting for the transport-related issues in the design of PLA-based products, thus preserving their environmental soundness compared to traditional petroleum-based products. In this context, the study could be used as the base to reconsider the merits of PLA usage for product manufacturing, especially when high distances are implied, as in this analysed case. So, the authors believe that new research and policy frameworks should be designed and implemented for both development and promotion of more globally sustainable options.Science of The Total Environment 08/2015; 537:385-398. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.023 · 4.10 Impact Factor