A life cycle framework to support materials selection for Ecodesign: A case study on biodegradable polymers

Materials & design (Impact Factor: 3.5). 10/2013; 51:300-308. DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2013.04.043


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.

24 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Materials and Design
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Under the umbrella of Life Cycle Engineering several engineering branches provide different approaches for industrial sustainable development and/or for modeling engineering analysis for decision-support on products design and materials/technology selection. The differences are mainly on the dimensions of analysis, i.e., environmental, economic, technical and/or social and on the scope of the analysis, namely cradle to grave or cradle to cradle. In this paper we discuss several approaches developed by the authors, providing a roadmap to guide designers to choose the most suitable for a specific problem. Case studies are presented to illustrate several types of applications and possible outputs of life cycle analyses.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Electromagnetic shielding is one the key factors for electronic devices in their use and transportation. Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable polymer with a moderate biodegradability and decent mechanical properties. Replacement of traditional materials by biodegradable polymers brings about the fossil resources savings and helps solving problems related to the plastic packaging waste. In this work composites of PLA with carbon black and carbon nanofibers were described. Improvement of the material mass/electromagnetic interference SE (shielding effectiveness) ratio can be obtained by introducing foaming technology into the material preparation process. Microporous structure can greatly improve material properties such as thermal isolation, mechanical properties and in case of composites filled with carbonaceous fillers such as carbon black carbon fibres – also the electrical conductivity. In order to improve their application range and reduce density, a cellular structure was created using chemical blowing agent. It was found that in low loaded composites (although above the percolation level) the shielding effectiveness relies on the amount of a conductive filler but it may be additionally enhanced by the foaming process. Electrical properties, electromagnetic shielding effectiveness and morphology of cellular composites for described polymer-filler systems have been presented.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Materials and Design
Show more