1st Edition

Process Techniques for Engineering High-Performance Materials

ISBN 9781466581883
Published June 19, 2013 by CRC Press
493 Pages 323 B/W Illustrations

USD $105.00

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Book Description

Most processed materials retain a memory of their production process at the molecular level. Subtle changes in production—such as variations in temperature or the presence of impurities—can impart performance benefits or drawbacks to individual batches of products. Some product developers have taken advantage of this process dependency to tailor properties to specific customer needs. In other cases, poorly engineered processes have resulted in serious failures. Process Techniques for Engineering High-Performance Materials explores practical strategies to guide you in systematically developing, improving, and producing engineered materials.

The book describes an R&D approach that is common to many material types, from polymers, biochemicals, metal alloys, and composites to coatings, ceramics, elastomers, and processed foods. Throughout, hundreds of examples illustrate successes and disasters in the history of materials development. These examples clearly show how product management and development tactics are constrained by the nature of the production process and the strategy of the company.

The author offers practical advice on how to:

  • Foster creativity in an industrial environment and avoid factors that unintentionally suppress technical innovation
  • Develop products when the properties of the product are highly dependent on processing variables
  • Avoid the inevitable scale-up problems that occur on process-dependent materials
  • Get the most out of expensive trial work in a production plant environment
  • Combine products into a systems solution to customer problems

Highlighting important rules for product development, this book helps you better understand the mechanics of engineering processed materials and how to adjust your processes to improve performance.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Process Dependency

The Process, the Product, and Its Ultimate Life Span

The Process
The Product
The Knobs
Product Life Span
Types of Process Deficiencies

Fitness-for-Use Testing

Finding the Critical Properties of Process-Dependent Products
FFU Tests
Getting Creative with FFU
Know Thy Customer

Technical Creativity and Idea Generation

Creativity in an Industrial Environment
Reality Check on the Innovation Climate
Fostering Technical Innovation
Formalized Brainstorming
Mechanics of Creative Development
Organizational Hostility
Overcoming Systematic Barriers to Innovation
Needs Bank and Opportunity List

Finding Product Opportunity
Market-Driven Organizations
Manufacturing/Process-Centric Approaches
Balanced Approach
Paradox of Product Evolution
What to Look for in a Product Opportunity
Cold Calls by Outsiders
Customer Requests
Customer Modification of Your Product

Prioritizing Project Proposals
Prioritization Styles
Considering Risk
Considering Process Factors When Prioritizing
Project Review

Evaluating Critical Parameters in the Process
Things We Want to Understand
Proactive Record Keeping
End-to-End Data Collection
Auditing Product Performance
Active Experimentation
Customizing Products for Niche Markets
Tracing the Process Paths

Organizing Development Projects
Defining the Product
Conflicts in Creating Specifications
Costing Concerns for Dynamic Products
Planning for a Quality Outcome

Project Execution and Oversight
Project Problems
Project Organization
Project Execution Guidelines
Basic Steps
Intellectual Property
Development Resources

Small-Scale Trials
Tools for Small-Scale Development
Procedures for Small-Scale Development
Barriers to Effective Projects
Managing the Development Organization
Retaining Samples and Information

Development Trials on Large-Scale Equipment
Trials from the Manufacturing Point of View
Preparing for a Plant Trial
Running a Plant Trial
Types of Plant Trials (From the Plant Perspective)
Types of Plant Trials (From the R&D Perspective)
Equipment Considerations for Plant Trials

Managing and Controlling the Process
Detecting Process Variability
State of the Process
Asking the Right Questions
Functional Responsibilities
Dealing with Trade-offs
Technical Decision Making
Anticipating Risk
Failure Analysis and Corrective Action

Controlling Raw Materials
Material Guidelines in the Development Phase
Material Rules for Industrial Scale-up
Material Considerations During the Specification Writing Step
Qualifying Second-Source Raw Materials

Complex Manufacturing Situations
In-Line Process Trains
Considering Outsourced Production
Qualifying a Toll Vendor
Managing the Relationship

Human Factors
Human Input on the Plant Floor
Organizational Behavior
Technical Behavior
Marketing/Sales Behavior
Economics of Scarcity

Managing Customer Expectations
Customer Mentality
Customer Input
Knowing Where You Stand
Getting the Business
Keeping the Business

Proprietary Systems
System Trade-offs
Developing Products for Proprietary Systems


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Tim Oberle holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois. His employers have been the American Can Company, W.R. Grace, and Sealed Air Corporation. This experience includes research, manufacturing, and commercial and management roles in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Over the course of 33 years in the industry, he has performed polymer processing, converting, and fitness testing on packaging and cushioning products. These activities routinely involve the engineering of process-dependent materials. Tim has 12 issued patents and additional patents pending.

Featured Author Profiles


"This is an excellent guide to understanding the impact of the engineering process of new products and processes which are essential for our growth and enhanced quality of life. The process has far-reaching and long-term implications, both good and bad, and this book provides an opportunity to consider how developments are done, not just the end result."
—Alan S. Weinberg, Vice President Global Technology, Cryovac (Retired), USA

"[The author’s] composition style and content make for an interesting format for the reader. He uses analysis of well-known historical and current events from many areas of human experience that underline the techniques he is reinforcing for successful processing of high-performance materials. This format should resonate with many R&D engineers, design engineers, and manufacturing engineers as well as other related manufacturing professionals, who will be able to identify with the examples given. The subject content ... will appeal to any engineering and manufacturing professional who is looking to develop a comprehensive ‘road map’ from an original concept or idea to executing a plan, including research and leading to comprehensive quality-based volume production. ... Graduate students developing a career path in many engineering disciplines would benefit from this approach to problem definition and resolution."
—John Simpson, Retired Project Engineer, USA

"This book is comprehensive and exhaustive in understanding the issues encountered in developing and manufacturing a fit-for-use high-performance material or product, and in validating its reliability and consistency in both lab scale trials and real application conditions. I like the narrative style and the numerous and enlightening real-world case studies brought as examples. This kind of hands-on approach makes the text very appealing for the audience to whom it is directed. A key learning out of this reading is that it is far more efficient to design quality (fitness-for-use) ahead of time than it is to readjust a wrong design in a never-ending project with an expensive repair job."
––Francesco Arena, Program Director Fluids Europe, Sealed Air, Italy