Abstract

Materials teaching is currently part of a paradigm shift in the design education. It becomes crucial to provide design students with an up-to-date knowledge about the latest advance in materials and manufacturing technologies with the aim to prepare them to more effectively cope with the next industry challenges. The introduction of smart materials started to revolutionize the way we design and interact with products. Their dynamic properties are changing our perception and understanding about what a material is in itself (a system), and especially what it is able to do (its performance). This paper presents a multidisciplinary framework for teaching functional materials based on a 5-layers structure: from the material science basics (1), materials engineering (2), stimuli-responsive phenomena (3), material experience (4) and product experience (5). Among the research outputs, four design-oriented tools are described. A part from an introductory lecture, Descriptive cards provide information on the most common phenomena that describe commercial smart materials application (level 1-3). The Smart Materials for Sensory Experiences Map (SM4SE) classifies such materials based on their input/output stimuli and puts them into relation with the explorative sensory modalities (level 3-4). By selecting an application of smart materials, the Dynamic Product Experience tool encourages students to explore, describe and qualitatively rank the dimensions of product experience (usefulness, desirability, credibility, understandability, usability) (level 5). The tools have been tested in a one-week learning experience focused on smart materials teaching within the Material Selection Criteria course in Design & Engineering of Politecnico di Milano. As an output of the full immersion, 28 case studies on dynamic products were collected by students.

Keywords:

smart material behaviours, materials teaching, design education, material experience, transdisciplinarity

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Jul 9th, 12:00 AM

Educational tools to teach design students the dynamic behaviours of smart materials

Materials teaching is currently part of a paradigm shift in the design education. It becomes crucial to provide design students with an up-to-date knowledge about the latest advance in materials and manufacturing technologies with the aim to prepare them to more effectively cope with the next industry challenges. The introduction of smart materials started to revolutionize the way we design and interact with products. Their dynamic properties are changing our perception and understanding about what a material is in itself (a system), and especially what it is able to do (its performance). This paper presents a multidisciplinary framework for teaching functional materials based on a 5-layers structure: from the material science basics (1), materials engineering (2), stimuli-responsive phenomena (3), material experience (4) and product experience (5). Among the research outputs, four design-oriented tools are described. A part from an introductory lecture, Descriptive cards provide information on the most common phenomena that describe commercial smart materials application (level 1-3). The Smart Materials for Sensory Experiences Map (SM4SE) classifies such materials based on their input/output stimuli and puts them into relation with the explorative sensory modalities (level 3-4). By selecting an application of smart materials, the Dynamic Product Experience tool encourages students to explore, describe and qualitatively rank the dimensions of product experience (usefulness, desirability, credibility, understandability, usability) (level 5). The tools have been tested in a one-week learning experience focused on smart materials teaching within the Material Selection Criteria course in Design & Engineering of Politecnico di Milano. As an output of the full immersion, 28 case studies on dynamic products were collected by students.

 

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