Environmental evaluation in material and process selection

    Project Details


    In order to achieve more sustainable patterns of production and consumption it is a major challenge to develop tools and methods, which support the environmentally conscious selection of materials and processes in the product development process. Such tools should require only relatively little time and knowledge in the field of environmental evaluation and should be applicable with only approximate information about the product and its life cycle.
    This dissertation addresses this challenge in presenting a method, which is tailored to these requirements of designers - the Oil Point Method (OPM). In providing environmental key information and confining itself to three essential assessment steps, the method enables rough environmental evaluations and supports in this way material- and process-related decision-making in the early stages of design.
    In its overall structure, the Oil Point Method is related to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - except for two main differences: the method considers exclusively primary energy relationships and it utilises material and process-specific indicators for the calculations. The validation of the method is accomplished by means of five case studies, where results obtained with the OPM are compared to results obtained with two established methods for environmental evaluation: A formal LCA method and another indicator-based method.
    A set of data for applying the method is presented including over 70 materials in pure or semi-finished form, over 20 manufacturing processes and some 20 other life cycle processes.
    Other contributions of this research comprise an analysis of the current research in environmental evaluation and in environmental product development, a classification of tools and methods for environmental assessment in design and the identification of missing links between existing methods for environmental evaluation and their application in material and process selection in product development.
    Effective start/end date01/01/199631/12/2000


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