The Chair addresses three main categories to set the agenda for materials and design research in the Design Engineering Department:
- Smart Materials: Materials which are able to sense and respond to different situations; that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled manner by external stimuli, such as moisture, electric, pressure, temperature, etc. (e.g. shape memory alloys, piezoelectric textiles, temperature sensitive polymers, etc.).
- Advanced Materials: Materials with superior mechanical/physical properties such as advanced metals, alloys, ceramics, composites, plastics etc. This category also covers the emerging materials for advanced manufacturing, such as functionally graded materials (FGM) made for multi-material 3D printing (e.g. materials with graded optical properties like colour, gloss, translucency and texture).
- Environmentally Sensitive Materials: They are developed as environmentally sensitive substitutes to materials derived from petroleum (e.g. materials made of waste, mycelium-based materials, natural fibre composites, bio-based plastics, etc.).
The research crossing these three categories of materials investigates possible ways to mobilize materials for novel functionalities; rich, intuitive, meaningful user experiences; and sustainable products in design. A recent example to demonstrate this endeavour is an on-going European project, Light.Touch.Matters (LTM) (FP7-2012-NMP), focusing on design driven development of touch sensitive luminous flexible plastics for applications in care & well-being. In the project product designers and material researchers collaborate to jointly develop a fully new generation of smart materials that combine touch sensitivity with luminosity, based on latest developments in polymeric piezo materials and flexible OLEDs.
- Karana E., Barati, B., Rognoli V., Zeeuw Van Der Laan, A., (in press). Material Driven Design (MDD): A Method To Design For Material Experiences. International Journal of Design.
- C.M.J.L. Lelieveld and K.M.B. Jansen, Thermal-electric Characterization and modelling of a smart composite structure for architectural applications, Smart Materials and Structures 23, pp.1-8, 2014: http://iopscience.iop.org.tudelft.idm.oclc.org/0964-1726/23/6/065010/article
- Karana, E., (2012), Characterization of 'natural' and 'high-quality' materials to improve perception of bio-plastics, Journal of Cleaner Production,37: 316-325: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652612003721
- Karana, E., Hekkert, P., & Kandachar, P. (2010). A Tool for Meaning Driven Materials Selection. Materials and Design, 31: 2932-2941: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261306909007110
- Karana E., Pedgley O., Rognoli V., (2014). Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design, 1st Ed., Butterworth-Heinemann: Elsevier, UK: http://www.amazon.com/Materials-Experience-fundamentals-materials-design/dp/0080993591
Accordingly, the Chair of Emerging Materials advocates the challenging couplings of theory and practice from materials science, design engineering and social sciences, and embeds this understanding in cross-departmental, cross-faculties, national and international research projects and in industry collaborations, as well as in materials education in design.