3.080 | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate

Economic & Environmental Issues in Materials Selection


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


3.012, 3.014, 3.022, 3.024, or permission of instructor.

Course Readings

Because the course covers a broad range of topics, there is no single textbook. However, I would recommend that students purchase the following text. It provides some coverage of the engineering economics topic, provides useful information on the general issues covered in class, and is very affordable:

de Neufville, R. Applied Systems Analysis: Engineering Planning and Technology Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1989. ISBN: 9780070163737.

Class readings and homework problems will be assigned from the following books:

Sullivan, W., E. Wicks, and J. Luxhoj. Engineering Economy. 12th ed. East Rutherford, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2002. ISBN: 9780130673381.

Ashby, M. F. Materials Selection in Mechanical Design. 3rd ed. San Diego, CA: Elsevier, 2005. ISBN: 9780750661683.

Bauman, H., and A. Tillman. Hitch Hiker’s Guide To LCA: An Orientation in Life Cycle Assessment Methodology and Application. Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur AB, 2004. ISBN: 9789144023649.

Students will also be expected to consult the course lecture slides and other readings assigned during the term.

Course Software

The course projects and many of the homework assignments rely heavily on the use of spread-sheet tools.

The instructors are most familiar with Microsoft® Excel and Lotus® 123, and will provide support for running exercises with this software. However, students can use any package that can run the models, with the understanding that support will be limited if the product is unfamiliar to the instructors.

All software for the course will be provided in DOS/Wintel format, but students can process assignments on any computer system. Note that the Microsoft® Excel materials are readable across platforms.


Grades will be based on various assignments throughout the term. Their approximate weights are:

Problem Sets 20%
Mid-semester Quiz 1 - Engineering Economy 15%
Mid-semester Quiz 2 - Material Selection and Cost Modeling 15%
Unit Projects
Engineering Economy 10%
Materials Selection 10%
Cost Modeling 15%
LCA (Integrative) 15%

The final grade will be modulated by an appreciation of the participant’s progress throughout the semester, giving extra weight to those that finish strongly and demonstrate that they have mastered the material, in the end.

Course Policies


Students are expected to complete all assignments on time. Unexcused late assignments will be marked down. Reasonable excuses (sickness, unavoidable professional absences, family emergencies, etc.) will of course be accepted when presented near the event.

Work in Teams

Students will likely work in teams for the unit projects. Indeed, we encourage this collaboration because it can lead to more interesting results. We require each student to turn in individually written interpretations of the common analysis.

Academic Honesty

To avoid any potential confusion that might result from different expectations in other courses or establishments, please note the standards that apply in this subject:

  • Anyone found cheating during the in-class exam will receive a zero for the exercise.
  • Assignments turned in for grading are to be done individually, although it is expected that students will discuss the issues involved in problem sets and often learn best collectively. In practice this means that students may lead each other to the proper understanding of the material, and collaborate on setting up computer runs, but should ultimately prepare reports for each assignment individually, in their own format and words. Demonstrated evidence of copying (exactly the same presentations, same wording of sentences, etc.) will result in zeros for each paper with this evidence.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2005
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples