Materials Databases and Content

Materials Databases:

Material ConneXion: database of thousands of independently juried materials.  To be selected into the database, materials must be completely novel, or meet a standard of Innovation – stronger, lighter, more sustainable, less expensive, something – over the existing state of the art.

AZO Materials: When this site started, it was known as “A to Z of Materials”, which pretty much says it all.  There’s a lot – A LOT – going on here, and it can be overwhelming; but from a dictionary of materials and terms to articles on the impact of materials, there’s a lot to be gained as well.

ASM International: Not to be confused with AZO, ASM is one of the older materials groups out there.  While they are a membership-based group, they offer a good amount of online content for free.  From articles to medical materials databases, the information is thoughtfully presented.

IOM³: The Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining provides lots of information on all three Ms.  Most linear information resource is their FAQ.

Materia: Very similar to Material ConneXion (some would say “too” similar), this site promotes innovative materials. It is billed as a “network”, and should be assumed that many of the listings are promotional.  Not to say that they are not useful, just understand that there is a fair bit of marketing going on here.

MatWeb: One of the largest databases of materials online – if not THE largest – with more than 100,000 materials.  That said, it is not for browsing: it is for finding out material properties of the materials you need to know about.  You will need to know, very specifically, what material you are looking to know more about before you will be able to use this site.  Great for finding specific properties of alloys or polymers.

CHEMnetBASE: More of a general polymer resource, this site has distinct listings for different kinds of compounds – natural, marine, organic, food, etc – among other resources.  Good source for verbage and specific material information.

SCIN Gallery: I’ve never really “gotten” what these people were doing, but I like whatever it is. Started by a couple of architects, the resource is similar to Material ConneXion in many ways, but not as comprehensive.  They like the bling, and most of what they feature can be very much flavor-of-the-Month sort of stuff.  It is, however, undeniably interesting.

Transmaterial: another database of innovative/novel materials created and maintained by Blaine Brownell, an architect and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.  His site seeks to catalogue those materials that “redefine the physical environment”.

MATBASE: I guess that this one is here in the interest of thoroughness.  While the site has quite a bit of information, and I like the fact that it is “free and independent”, I find it a bit opaque.  There is information in there – it’s just a bit hard to find.

Materials Library of the UT Austin School of Architecture: One of the first – if not THE first – academic materials libraries, this collection of more than 25,000 materials can border on the mundane; but it’s a pretty intuitive interface, and there’s solid information to be found.  Has a slight American flavor, but does include lots of international manufacturers.

Idemat: Interesting app from TU Delft that aids in sustainable materials selection process.  Great to have as a mobile resource, as one can rank options on the fly.  A bit technical – you need to know your polymer abbreviations – but remarkably comprehensive.

Rematerialize: Another school-based project, this time from Kingston University in the UK, that focuses on sustainable materials.  It’s a bit dated – OK, it’s a lot dated – but there’s still good information to be found.

Content Providers:

Architonic: This site is somewhere between a database and a content provider.  As a commercial aggregator, the featured products are paid placement; but the overall universe that seems to look to them is pretty good.  From the people that bring you Daily Tonic.

Nature Materials: From their site, “Nature Materials is a monthly multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together cutting-edge research across the entire spectrum of materials science and engineering.”  While many of the articles are unintelligibly complex, there are lots that have good information for general readers.

Machine Design: Solid source for materials development news.

Advanced Science News: As the name would imply, this is not really a “general audience” site; however, there are plenty of articles and resources for everyone.

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute: A self-described “think tank” predominantly focused on the construction sector, they have good tools/information on LCA and other policy matters.