IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF DEMOCRATIC DESIGN

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Method and implementation

In this chapter, the methods used during the research are described. An account of how the data was gathered and why the different methods were chosen is presented.

Identifying the characteristics of democratic design

The first part of the first research question, (what are the characteristics that define the different focus areas of Democratic Design…) was answered by gathering information from different sources. One of the sources of information was an interview with one of the representatives of the company. During the interview information was attained about how the company works with democratic design. The interview mainly consisted of descriptions of what steps are involved in the company’s product development and what aspects had to be considered when selecting the final design. It also included a description of how the company functions and what their main customer group consists of. [3] Another source was the company’s wall of information, where the definition of democratic design could be read. [1] There was also a visit to a museum where information about democratic design could be attained. [7]

How aluminium corresponds to democratic design

To answer the first research question second half (…and how do aluminium correspond to these characteristics?) a mind map was created. The mind map consists of the five aspects of democratic design and most of the relevant aspects of aluminium according to Sapas handbook about aluminium. The different aspects of aluminium were placed closest to the democratic design aspect that were considered most relatable. The mind map was limited to only the aspects mentioned in Sapas handbook, in order for it not to become too large.

Identifying reasons to or not to change to aluminium

To begin answering the second research question (which of the company’s current and future products, used in a home environment, should be made from aluminium?) a comparison of the different materials used at the company was done. It was determined that the most efficient way to compare the different materials was to us a material comparing program called CES-EduPack. The comparisons were focused on the different aspects of democratic design, to identify what aspects of aluminium that could be used to argue for or against it as a choice of material.
 

How a CES-EduPack comparison is done

The program allows the user to compare different features of several materials simultaneously. It can be used to produce graphs showing where the materials will be on different scales in comparison to others. The process of creating these graphs includes the following steps: selecting what materials are to be compared, deciding what features are to be compared on the two different axels of the graphs and plotting the graph. [11] Fourteen materials that were deemed as potential new materials or were already in use at the company, were chosen:

Age hardening aluminium,
Cast aluminium alloys,
Non- age hardening aluminium,
Stainless steel,
Low carbon steel,
Hardwood: oak, across grain,
Plywood,
Softwood: pine, across grain,
Bamboo,
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS),
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET),
Polymethyl methacrylate (Acrylic, PMMA),
Polypropylene (PP),
Polycarbonate (PC)
The compositions of the different materials that have been compared can be seen in appendix B. These materials are generalisations of the mayor groups of materials. For instance age hardening aluminium includes the 2xxx-, 6xxx- and 7xxx-series of aluminium as they are all potential materials under different circumstances yet they have a lot of similar characteristics.

Material comparison regarding form

Form can be considered from many different perspectives. To get a general idea of how aluminium compares to the other materials regarding form, all the available production methods in CES-EduPack were researched. The data about what materials that could be produced with the different production methods showed one or more of the following groups: Metals – non-ferrous (ex: Aluminium), metals – ferrous (ex: Steel), Natural (ex: wood), Polymers and Composites. The production methods that were available were put in to tables in order to get a general overview of what types of materials that could be used in the different production methods and what production methods were available for the different materials. The same procedure was done with surface treatments which showed the same material groupings.
A further study of what types of effects and benefits are possible to achieve from anodizing aluminium was also done.

Material comparison regarding function

The general aspects of a material that affect a products functions most were discussed with the company and deemed to be the materials tensile strength, Young’s modulus, elongation and fatigue strength. A further aspect that was deemed relevant to the materials effect on a products function was its flammability. These aspects, were compared in CES-EduPack 2017 for some of the most commonly used materials at the company.

Material comparison regarding quality

The aspects that were chosen to be compared that were deemed to be relevant to quality were UV-resistance and chemical resistance, both to weak and strong acids and alkaline substances. The hardness of a materials surface was also deemed relevant as it affects how easy a product can be scratched. Furthermore, its durability towards organic solvents and salt and fresh water were deemed relevant to the products quality. All the mentioned aspects were compared in CES-EduPack 2017. A numerical data comparison of all the available durability grades of the different materials was also done in order to get an overview of the different materials durability, see appendix D.

Material comparison regarding sustainability

The first thing that was compared was the different materials ability to be recycled according to the definition in CES EduPack 2017. Then the CO2 footprint for the primary production of all the relevant materials and their embodied energy. Then an ECO-audit was done, where some of the selected materials were compared in how they would contribute to CO2 emissions during their life cycles and how much energy they would consume. The CO2 footprint and the energy consumption for the coarse machining for the different materials was also compared. How much water is needed to create each material and their weight differences was also compared.
One of the comparisons that was dons is called an eco-audit. It identifies how a change of material could alter the impact on the environment, in the aspects of CO2 footprint and energy consumption. It was done in CES EduPack by adding estimated numbers in to different parameters. These parameters are then used by the program to calculate an estimated CO2 footprint and energy consumption of the product during its lifecycle. Estimations are done on for instance, how far the product travels during its lifecycle and what modes of transportation are used. What happens to the product after it’s been used and discarded etc. The estimations were made by discussing data from current products with the company.

Material comparison regarding low price

Transportation, manufacturing and the materials cost for the different materials was compared. The material costs were compared both in cost per weight and cost per volume, to insure that low weight materials weren’t calculated as unrealistically expensive in compression to how much material would be available.

Determining which products to recommend for a material change

By looking at the company’s current aluminium product range, which were made partly or completely out of aluminium, a few product types were identified. These products were then analysed and compared to the results from the results gained from the CESEdupack 2017. The same was done for a few products that were not currently made from aluminium in order to see if they would benefit from a change to aluminium, according to democratic design. The product types that were selected were:
Knobs/hooks/handles
Mirror and picture frames
Ornaments/candle holders
Chairs
Shelfs
The product requirements were analysed based on the most common uses and placements in home environments, according to the company’s stores and websites. For instance the toilet seats were assumed to be used on a toilet.

Findings and analysis

This chapter contains the findings and the results of the work done. It also includes analyses of the results. The chapter is divided according to the different aspects of democratic design. Each division includes the CES EduPack results, a summary of the results and an analysis of the results. The chapter ends with a few examples of how to get some ideas about if a product should or should not be made from aluminium by using this report.

Aluminium’s correspondence to democratic design

By studying the main aspects of aluminium according to Sapas handbook about aluminium and then comparing those to democratic design figure 4.1 was created. [8]

Result of researching aluminium’s correspondence to democratic design.

With figure 4.1, it was possible to get an overview of what aspects of aluminium effect and qualifies under which part of democratic design. It was also possible to draw some conclusions about what characteristics were relevant, in the democratic design, relative to the selection of material.

Analysis of aluminium’s correspondence to democratic design

The democratic design aspects are affected by several of the same aluminium features. For instance, the low weight of aluminium effects both function, low cost and sustainability. Aluminium has a lot of features that correlates with several of the aspects of democratic design.

Aluminium qualifications regarding form

Available production methods

Table 1, in appendix E, shows all production methods that are available in the CES – EduPack 2017, and which groups of materials that can be used in production with the methods. Table 1 is used to indicate what production methods are currently available options when choosing a type of material that is included in the groups.

Surface treatments available

Table 2, in appendix E, shows all available surface treatments methods in the CES-EduPack program 1, and which groups of materials that can receive the different surface treatments. Table 2 is used to give an indication on what ways there are to treat the surfaces on the different materials.

Anodizing aluminium

As can be seen in table 2 in appendix E only non-ferrous metals, such as for instance aluminium, can be anodized. Anodizing transforms the aluminium surface in to aluminium oxide thru a controlled electrolytic oxidation process. The Aluminium part is connected as an anode in a 20% sulphuric acid solution. Sometimes anodization is also called anoxification or oxidation.
An aluminium item that goes through the anodizing process gets new features such as high resistance to wear and it becomes dirt repellent. While the aluminium oxide is created dies can also be added, so the product becomes coloured. Different companies have different standard colours and maximum dimensions of parts that they can anodize. At for instance Ahlins i Habo their standard colours are black, blue, red and gold. And their maximum dimensions formats are 2000 x 1100 x 500 mm. [19]They also have access to a lot more colours as can be seen in their folder.[24]
The anodization also makes the item electrically insulating, which means it does not conduct electricity anymore. It also provides excellent protection against corrosion in difficult environments. During some types of the process no foreign metals or substances are added and generally anodized aluminium is approved for contact with food, according to the EU Directive RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). [20]
There are a lot of new methods of anodizing that are being researched that could for instance make the products super hydrophobic, like lotus leaves. According to Hamid Saffari, Beheshteh Sohrabi, Mohammad Reza Noori, Hamid Reza and Talesh Bahrami, it is possible to do it to aluminium of the 1xxx. [21] According to ZhouLu, PengWang and Dun Zhang, it is also possible to achieve increased corrosion resistance in marine environments with certain kinds of anodizing and adding films. [22] According to Yang Wang, Xiao Wei Liu and Hai Feng Zhang, a super-hydrophobic surface on an aluminium product, from the 6xxx-seris, can heal itself, at 130◦C degrees, if it’s produced with a certain process. That type of coating is obtained by combining a two-step process (first, the substrate is immersed in a solution of H2O, HF and HCl, and then in boiling water) and succeeding surface fluorination with a solution of poly (vinylidene-fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) and a fluoroalkyl silane. [23]
Further benefits of anodizing are: providing a base for the application of adhesives or printing inks, improving the feel of a surface and the surface is perceived as new for a longer period. Things to consider regarding anodized surfaces: they are corrosion resistant as long as they don’t come in contact with substances with pH-values outside of 4-9. If they come in contact with strongly alkaline substances, the surface can become damaged and stained. The anodized surfaces should therefore not come in contact with for instance cement, gypsum and lime. At temperatures above 100oC, the oxide layer can be cracked and the cracks are more noticeable the thicker the layer is. The pigments need to be removed before the aluminium can be recycled and some of them does not have good resistance to UV-radiation. The quality of the dye also depends on the colouring method used. For more information see Sapa’s handbook.[8]

Contents
Abstract 
SUMMARY 
SAMMANFATTNING 
1 Introduction 
1.1 BACKGROUND
1.2 PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.3 DELIMITATIONS
1.4 OUTLINE
2 Theoretical background
2.1 COMPANY OBJECTIVE
2.2 DEMOCRATIC DESIGN
2.3 COMPANY CONSISTENCY
2.4 MATERIALS CURRENTLY USED AT THE COMPANY
2.5 HOME ENVIRONMENTS
3 Method and implementation 
3.1 IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF DEMOCRATIC DESIGN
3.2 HOW ALUMINIUM CORRESPONDS TO DEMOCRATIC DESIGN
3.3 IDENTYFING REASONS TO OR NOT TO CHANGE TO ALUMINIUM
3.4 DETERMENING WHICH PRODUCTS TO RECOMMEND FOR A MATERIAL CHANGE
4 Findings and analysis
4.1 ALUMINIUMS CORRESPONDENCE TO DEMOCRATIC DESIGN
4.2 ALUMINIUM QUALIFICATIONS REGARDING FORM .
4.3 ALUMINIUM QUALIFICATIONS REGARDING FUNCTION
4.4 ALUMINIUM QUALIFICATIONS REGARDING QUALITY .
4.5 ALUMINIUM QUALIFICATIONS REGARDING SUSTAINABILITY
4.6 ALUMINIUM QUALIFICATIONS REGARDING LOW COST
4.7 USING THIS REPORT TO IDENTIFY WHEN TO USE ALUMINUM
5 Discussion and conclusions 
5.1 DISCUSSION OF METHOD
5.2 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
5.3 CONCLUSIONS
5.4 FUTURE WORK
6 References
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
When to use aluminium in home environments, according to democratic design

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