Revolution in Transportation
Road Transport in the 18th and a major part of 19th century
was mainly horse carriages.
By 1890 we had Copper, Bronze, Iron, Steel , Aluminum
and Rubber in addition to Wood. This paved the way for
series of inventions leading to a paradigm shift in the road
transport from horse carriages to motorized vehicles
Karl Benz in Germany came up with a viable motor
vehicle called ‘Velo’ in 1894
Ford Motors made the first assembly line for mass
production of commercial vehicles
The Ford T-model was the first successful and affordable
Materials had a very important role to play in this
transformation from Velo or T to modern cars (see the next
We have come of ages, developed new materials and
technologies based on them
The application of these materials has led to the modern
Automobile and Materials
From Cast iron blocks to more compact, lighter and
powerful engine blocks – Material development has made it
Engine components are traditionally made from ferrous
alloys. Emphasis on weight reduction for higher fuel
efficiency has increased usage of aluminum for cylinder
blocks, cylinder heads, and other engine components.
Some engine covers and intake manifolds are made of
magnesium. Titanium is also used in high-speed engines
connecting rods to reduce reciprocating mass.
Materials like synthetic rubber, variety of polymers, foams
have provided new dimension and aesthetic look to
Automobile and Materials
Engine and Interior
Invention of Aeroplane
From Wright Brothers’ invention in 1902 To today’s Aircraft
Materials played a very important role in this case also
Use of advanced materials - Stronger, lighter and better
aerodynamic design, greater speed.
Boeing 777, for example, used 75% aluminum whereas half
of the materials used in the advanced version 787 is fiber
Total materials used by weight
Boeing 777 (Source: Boeing)
As the aircraft design improved, the load on the engine and
hence, it’s operating temperature also increased.
Need of materials that can sustain such harsh conditions.
The advent of High-temperature materials (Ni base super
alloys) has made it possible.
Impact of Materials
Waterways – Transport and Safety
RMS Titanic, a classic example
On it’s maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York
city, RMS titanic sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912
on colliding with an iceberg
An analysis done on the hull steel years later provided the
materials aspects of this tragedy.
The hull of the ship was made of riveted steel plates
The quality and the composition of the steel is crucial for
the required properties and performance.
Hull made of Riveted
Poor Steel quality, high S and P and low Mn:S ratio
A metallurgical analysis done on the hull steel revealed a
Mn:S ratio of 6.8:1 which was too low compared to a quality
steel like ASTM A36 (Mn:S 15:1)
Low Mn:S ratio cannot remove the sulfur from steel
As a result sulphides form. The brittle sulfides reduces the
At lower temperature metals and alloys loose their ductility
and becomes brittle – Ductile to Brittle Transition
Temperature (DBTT) is the deciding factor
Metallurgical aspects of failure
Formation of brittle sulphide inclusions due to Low Mn:S
High Ductile to brittle transition temperature (DBTT) –
The steel became very brittle at low temperature
Impact property testing of the titanic steel exhibited brittle
Brittle fracture on collision with ice berg in the chilling
water temperature (-2 C at the time of collision).
Breakage of ship and sinking
Modern cruise: As or more Luxurious as Titanic
Use of advanced materials such as fiber reinforced
composite (FRP), laminated composites, high-strength steels,
Better safety due to improved design and materials used
therein combined with advanced navigation system
The modern cruise ship
The Electronics Revolution
Before invention of the Si chip Electro-mechanical
computers were developed
Harvard MarkI Electro-mechanical computer, 1940 – 5 tons,
8 x 51 feet and 500 miles of wire
IBM Computer,1959, 33 feet long
Invention of a metallurgical process, Zone refining, that can
produce high purity Si led to the development of
Development of smaller and smaller Si chips helped
miniaturization that led to today’s computers
Silicon – the heart of every electronic component
Communication and Entertainment
Smaller and smaller microchips have brought the whole
world on our palm top
The advent of new electronic, optical and optoelectronic
materials has given new dimension to entertainment
Katherine Felkins et al. The Royal Mail Ship Titanic: Did a
Metallurgical Failure Cause a Night to Remember? JOM
50 (1) (1998) 12-18
Zygmont, Jeffrey Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and The
Revolution It Created (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2003).
Key words: Role of Materials; Impact on progress;
Transportation and Electronic revolution
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