:: Specific Design Brief

LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

LU 7: SMART MATERIALS

PRODUCT DESIGN UK

GENERIC DESIGN CONTEXT
It has been recommended for many years that reducing, reusing and recycling provide many opportunities for environmental improvements in our own and other countries and in product manufacture. Design and make a product that uses at least one of those criteria.

SPECIFIC DESIGN BRIEF
Environmental legislation known as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive will come into effect in August 2006.  It will mean that many companies who manufacture electrical and electronic products (e.g. cookers, telephones, musical socks, watches) will be required to take back old products, and disassemble them to reclaim materials and components for recycling or reuse.  Traditionally this has been done automatically (which is cheap but involves crushing the product) or by hand (which is expensive, but means that fragile components can be removed).  A more cost effective way of taking a product apart carefully, is to use smart materials in the design of the product.  When treated in a specific way (e.g. heating, cooling) smart materials can be made to expand, contract, melt, and change colour.  These smart materials can be used to force the product casing apart, and communicate useful messages regarding material types etc.

Identify a type of product which would benefit from being disassembled at the end of its life (i.e. to reclaim valuable materials and/or components for reuse or recycling).  Then using one or more smart materials, design a system which will enable the product to be automatically disassembled at the end of its life.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Your teacher has a reference pack, “Smart materials to help disassembly”, which gives which gives details of the type of smart materials available, background information on the use of smart material in disassembly and some of the design issues which need to be addressed.
 

STAKEHOLDER DETAILS

·         Disassembly must be cost effective for the company organising the process, this may be the original manufacturer or a company specifically set up to deal with broken products.

·         With many products (especially those with electronic parts) safety is a very important issue, you must take into consideration the fact that users must not be able to take the product apart before the end of its life.

·         It is important to choose a product where value can be gained from disassembling the product in this manner. 

Your first point of contact for this brief will be Loughborough University. Initially contact Eddie Norman (email E.W.Norman@lboro.ac.uk or by phone 01509-222659).

SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES
·         Reducing the quantity of materials entering landfill sites can significantly reduce the environmental impact of people in the UK

·         Disassembly facilities around the UK for specific product types would provide employment in the UK.

·         Reclaiming materials and components for recycling or reuse reduces the extraction of raw materials which supports biodiversity.
 

FURTHER INFORMATION

HELP WITH DISASSEMBLY

If you decide to work on this design brief, don't forget to consider the issues of sustainability in the different phases of your designing and making.
Click here to access Sustain-a-balls