Material Selection

Definition - What does Material Selection mean?

Material selection is the act of choosing the material best suited to achieve the requirements of a given application. Many different factors go into determining the selection requirements, such as mechanical properties, chemical properties, physical properties, electrical properties and cost. These must be weighed during the material selection process.

Corrosionpedia explains Material Selection

Material selection involves a broad set of considerations. As a result, a correspondingly wide variety of knowledge is required to make an appropriate selection. Oftentimes, materials engineers and scientists are relied upon to help. However, they are not the only ones involved in the decision making process. Purchasing experts, manufacturing engineers, design engineers, customers and suppliers could potentially be brought in during the process so that the optimum decision is made.

Incorrect material selection can have a huge impact on safety and application success. An example from a mechanical standpoint is if an aluminum alloy with a yield strength of only 10 ksi is selected when a steel with a yield strength of 50 ksi is required — then the component or structure being made could fail if the loads in tension are too great. For a chemical and corrosion resistance example, consider an austenitic stainless steel and ferritic stainless steel being placed in a saltwater environment. Improper selection of the ferritic stainless steel would result in heavy corrosion over time, whereas an austenitic 316 grade of stainless steel would resist corrosion much better.

In addition to considering how a single material may behave in isolation during the material selection process, it is also important to consider how two or more materials might behave when in contact with each another. A carbon steel part placed in contact with a stainless steel part in an electrolytic solution will undergo galvanic corrosion at a much faster rate than it would if it was not contacting the stainless steel part.

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