ASM International is a US-based materials information society with roots that stretch back to the early 20th century. In an effort to reach out to the design community, ASM has set up /MTRL, an initiative that brings the expertise, knowledge and insight of ASM’s members to the aid of designers. Chris Lefteri Design was commissioned by ASM to provide a range of materials from our collection, complete with extensive information and images, for the on-line material database at mtrl.com. So far, the database consists of 250 materials presented in a way that specifically targets designers and their needs.
Chris Lefteri discusses the database:
The unique thing about this website is that it contains semi-formed materials and raw materials. Some of them are very new and emerging technologies like Auxetics while others are more traditional like PET. Unlike most other material databases the information is not just limited to the sensorial and design language but also has hardcore technical data such as Young’s Modulus.
For example Celluloid is a very early plastic and has info on the history as well as the engineering properties such as Shear Modulus, Hardness and Elongation. In contrast you have the more up to date Corn Starch based plastics which also has the same design friendly information as well as the engineering data. But its not just commodity plastics that are up there but also materials like Porcelain, so you can have a very useful set of data to compare material properties from different families like plastics, metal and ceramics. There are also more unusual entries such as glass flakes and beads. These are materials that I have found that are generally used in engineering applications that I think could be opened up to designers.
Another feature that I am really pleased with is the Personality search facility [click on the + by Material Personality on the left column], where you can look up materials based on very emotive words. A designer might want to use this if they are working on very strong brand which has key qualities that need to addressed.
IDES and MatWeb are both pretty technical while MTRL is design images and content that is more design friendly.
This really is a tremendous resource… Please take the time to wander around this thing, because it is VAST. There are charting tools, different methods of comparing materials… Hours of fun…
By the way, it tends to look a little better in Explorer than it does in Firefox, but I’ve mentioned this to Chris…