Category Archives: Materials

Material – Zirconia Ceramics

zirconia ceramics, engineering ceramics, ceramics

Ceramics have played an important role historically in the evolution of industrial design and are considered to be the engineering materials of the future.

Ceramic materials are derived from naturally-occurring inorganic materials such as clay minerals and quartz sand. Through production processes that have been developing through centuries, ceramics are used to create a wide variety of products that include china tableware, bricks, industrial abrasives, tiles, refractory linings and even cement.

The last 20 years have seen the development of a new breed of high-tech engineering ceramics, with numerous industrial applications ranging from combustion engine components to oxygen sensors. These new materials are completely different from traditional ceramics because they include in their composition metallic powders such as alumina, titania, yttria and zirconia.

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Zirconia Ceramic is a ceramic material consisting of at least 90% of Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2). It is produced from natural minerals such as Baddeleyite (zirconium oxide) or zirconium silicate sand. Zirconia Ceramics are used in orthopaedics since 1985. When designers were seeking for new materials, zirconia ceramics were used to create different products. An early study for zirconia ceramics was carried out by Richard Seymour who created blades for kitchen knives.

This material has the highest strength and toughness at the room temperature of all engineering ceramics. Before zirconia, ceramics were considered impractical for scissor of knife application.

zirconia ceramics, engineering ceramics, ceramicsImage Sources:,

Technical Information:

•    High density – up to 380 lb/ft³ (6.1*10³ kg/m³);
•    Low thermal conductivity – 10% of that of alumina ceramics;
•    High fracture toughness;
•    Very high flexural strength and hardness;
•    High maximum service temperature – up to 4350 ºF (2400 ºC).
•    Coefficient of thermal expansion similar to that of cast iron;
•    Modulus of elasticity similar to steel;
•    High chemical resistance;
•    High resistance to molten metals;
•    Good wear resistance;
•    Low coefficient of friction.

zirconia ceramics, engineering ceramics, ceramicsImage Sources:,


Zirconia ceramics are used for manufacturing:

  • Extrusion dies;
  • Powder compacting dies;
  • Cutting tools;
  • Balls and seats for ball valves;
  • Thread and wire guides;
  • Pump seals;
  • Impellers and shaft guides;
  • Engine parts;
  • Oxygen sensors;
  • Fuel cells membranes;
  • High temperature heaters for electric furnaces;
  • Bearings (e.g., bearings for submersible pumps).

zirconia ceramics, engineering ceramics, ceramicsImage Sources:,

More information

  1. More information for zirconia ceramics –
  2. Find out what zirconia is –;
  3. Read more about all types of engineering ceramics –

Material – PressLoad

pressload material, energy absorb material, PressLoad is a highly efficient energy absorbing material with a low cost component.It was originally developed as a lightweight energy absorber to compete with honeycomb and other panel products.

This structural panel is based on the same principle as an egg box. Its arrangement of conical shells provides strength and the ability to deform in a predictable way. The flat tops of the cones and the ability to mold flaps provides different options from easy fixing to headliners or other interior parts.

pressload material, energy absorb materialImage Sources:, Materials for Inspirational Design


  • Exceptional flexibility when sandwiched;
  • Excellent energy absorption;
  • Cost-effective;
  • Recyclable;
  • Aging stability;
  • Repeatable and consistent HIC values;
  • Temperature stability.

pressload material, energy absorb materialImage Source

Typical Application:

  1. Structural panels used in aerospace, architectural, marine, and automotive industries;
  2. It can be used for ceiling and roof panels in the rail and automotive industry, in the manufacture of hoods and fenders in cars;
  3. As a decorative panels in the retail and home environments, for raised floors, interior and exterior cladding, and for room dividers;
  4. Also used for impact protection in transport, including the front wings of vehicles, and in exhibition stands and decorative panels.

More information

Material – Nanai Leather

leather, nanai leather, salmon leatherLeather has been used since the ancient times and it is still used today. People try to find new ways how to use leather. The most popular leathers that we know are made of such species as pythons, crocodiles, pigs, deers and other.

In 2010 an exclusive leather was made in Germany. It is called Nanai. The leather is made from organically farmed salmon skin.

Leather is named after the Eastern Siberian “Fish people” who first found salmon skin as essential material in everyday life. They used it for everything from boats to tents, but the most beautiful and ornate skins were meant to be used for jewellery and other special items.

nanai leather, salmon leather, new leather, fish leatherImage Source:,

Nanai leather is made of salmon skin. Formerly a waste product of fish canneries. Nanai has developed an eco-friendly process to tan and dye the skins, while retaining their pigmentation and characteristic texture.

The production of this salmon skin is chrome-free, relying instead on vegetable tanning.

Click here to see a video of this leather production (the spoken language is German).
This unique salmon skin is completely individual and more beautiful than the next and also effortlessly more beautiful than a regular leather.

Nanai was presented in Xperience 2010 from 27-29 January 2010.

Nanai leather is sold by the meter in a large range of sizes, coulours, finishings and widths. Custom pieces are available. Download a color chart that Nanai leather comes in: Colorcard

nanai leather, salmon leather, new leather, fish leatherImage Source:,

Material information

  • Glossiness – Satin;
  • Closed Structure;
  • Poor weather resistance;
  • Poor chemical resistance;
  • Renewable;
  • Moderated Scratch resistance;
  • Moderated Fire resistance;

nanai leather, salmon leather, new leather, fish leatherImage Source:

More information about Nanai leather, click  here


  • The successful designer Michael Michalsky used the leather for his autumn/winter collection 2010/2011;
  • The BMW X6M is the first vehicle worldwide to be furnished with Nanai leather;
  • The shoe manufacturer Ludwig Reiter plans to introduce Nanai leather shoes to the market in 2010, as well as Pollini, one of the most famous Italian manufacturers of high quality bags and shoes.

Material – Nonwoven Fabric

material, fabric, textile, nonwoven fabricPeople tend to search for new ways of producing different materials. Fabrics are widely used all over the world and new technologies of fabric manufacturing is always welcomed.

Nonwoven Fabric is a fabric-like material made from long fibers, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. The term “Nonwoven Fabric” is used in the textile manufacturing industry to indicate fabrics, such as felt, which are neither woven or knitted.

Nonwoven materials lack strength unless they are densified or reinforced by a backing. In recent years, nonwovens have become an alternative to polyurethane foam.

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Nonwoven fabrics are widely described as web or sheet structures bonded together by entangling fiber or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, chemically or thermally.

They are flat, porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibers or from molten plastic or plastic film. This fabric is not made by knitting or weaving and do not require converting the fibers to yarn. In, a certain percentage of recycled fabrics and oil-based materials are used in nonwoven fabrics. The percentage of recycled fabrics vary based upon the strength of material needed for the specific use.

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Nonwoven fabrics are engineered fabrics that may be a limited life, single-use fabric or a very durable fabric.

Nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame resistance, cushioning, filtering, bacterial barrier and sterility. These properties are often combined to create fabrics suited for specific jobs, while achieving a good balance between product use-life and cost. The fabric can copy the appearance, texture and strength of a woven fabric and can be as bulky as the thickest padding. Nonwoven fabric in a combination with other materials  provide a spectrum of products with diverse properties. They are also used alone or as components of apparel, home furnishings, health care, engineering, industrial and consumer goods.

In the video below you may see Fabric Meltblowing Process


  • Low Price
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Breathability
  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Soft
  • Temperature resistance
  • Water resistance


  • Although this fabric is durable, its still weaker in durability and intensity compared to the textiles;
  • It requires different washing method as other fabrics;
  • Bad cracking-resistance

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  • Agriculture use: Sprout cultivation cloth, warming drape, pond and canal water barriers, foundation stabilizers;
  • Garment use: Interlining for front part, interlining for shoes and hat, shopping bags;
  • Household use: Gown, house-wraps, table cover, bed clothing, pillowcases, blankets;
  • Industrial use: industrial filtering cloth, roll goods, insulation protection, roof material, cement wrapper, geomembrane, industrial wipes;
  • Medical use: Surgical operation coat, protective apparel, medical mask, medical bandages, baby diapers, sanitary napkin, household and personal wipes, lab coat, surgical drape , feminine hygiene, etc.
  • Other use: automotive carpet, interior decoration lining for automobile, spray-bonded nonwovens, automotive headliner;

material, fabric, textile, nonwoven fabricImage Source

Material – 3M Dual Lock

material, plastics, fastener,Plastics have allowed for a mass of new types of fixing mechanisms that exploit the flexibility and resilience of plastics.

Everybody knows about Velcro. It is a very useful material, especially in its self-adhesive form. It has been used widely from wearable to industrial. But, sadly, Velcro is not so strong. Bet, hey, 3M™ Dual Lock™ is here to help you!

Instead of the hook-and-loop principle, 3M™ Dual Lock™ Reclosable Fasteners relies on a series of tiny mushrooms to join the two identical halves of the material together. And 3M™ claims that it if five times gripping power than Velcro, but still lightweight.

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Dual Lock reclosable fasteners can solve your design dilemmas—replacing screws, bolts and rivets as a tool-free, seamless fastening system.

You can choose a black of a transparent Dual Lock and it comes in four types: 170, 250, 400 and Low Profile. The numbers refer to the number of mushrooms  per square inch: Type 250 has 250. Like typical Velcro, two pieces of standard Dual Lock total about a quarter inch in thickness.

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  • Strong, yet removable, fastening
  • Lighter weight than mechanical fasteners
  • Offers design flexibility
  • Easy to apply
  • Repositionable
  • Simplifies assembly
  • No surface holes

How to Use

To use the fasteners, just press together the two sides of interlocking mushroom-shaped stems until you hear a little snap, indicating the fastener is engaged. And that’s it! Easy and safe to use!
Watch a Dual Lock Application Demonstration

In all versions of the material, this product has brought a new potential to the use of pliable plastics to be used as fixings.

3M™ Dual Lock™ Introduction & Buying Guide

Material – Recycled glass tiles

glass material, recycled glassDo you remember walking by a beach, finding colorful and small glass pieces? I have always loved the roundness of them and how the nature had recycled them.

A company called Interstyle manufacturers ceramic and glass tiles for kitchens, bathrooms and swimming pools. They are also providing an opportunity to buy tiles that are made from recycled glass.

In 1977, Ernesto and Georgia Hauner founded Interstyle as a ceramic tile distributor and manufacturer of decorative tiles.

material, recycled glass, recycled materialImage Source

Interstyle provides 9 types of recycled glass tiles:

  • Cobbletones – is an exciting series of 12 color groups of glass mosaics. Application – for wall installation on interiors, exteriors of buildings, swimming pools, fountains and similar applications. Easy installation on flat or curved surfaces. Versatile and impervious to liquids and vapors. Can be applied as complete sheets, or in smaller sections. You can download cobbletones brochure here.
  • Opal-line glass mosaics are mesh mounted as a running bond for application as a covering material, or as decorative borders when combined with ceramic tiles. To download the opal-line brochure click here.
  • Dewdrops are mesh-mounted sheets, a mix of glossy, iridescent, textured and matte tiles made from recycled content. This hand crafted glass is the perfect material for wall covering, ideal for both interior and exterior application, as well as for swimming pools. To download the dewdrops brochure click here.

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  • Glassblends mosaics are a mix of glossy and matte glass pieces. They are versatile and easily installed on flat or curved surfaces. They can be applied as complete sheets, or in smaller sections, to form decorative borders or trims with other tiled surfaces. To download the glassblends brochure click here.
  • Icestix Glass Mosaic Tile 12 striking color blends of glass strips made from recycled content combining a variety of textures and finishes – available as ½” × 2″ and ½” × 4″ glass tile mosaics, mesh mounted on 12″ × 12″ sheets. To download the icestix brochure click here.
  • Aquarius is available in 20 combinations of colored gems suspended in clear glass. Aquarius tiles may be installed as accent pieces in combination with ceramic tiles, or used alone as a field tile. To download the aquarius brochure click here. Aquarius is suitable for indoor as well as outdoor application.

material, glass, recycled glassImage Source

  • River Crystals are chunks of hand crafted and hand colored glass, assembled into mesh-mounted mosaics. They are random shaped translucent glass pieces and have the appearance of smooth tumbled rocks. The colors are randomly distributed within each piece to give the visual effect of depth. Download the brochure click here.
  • Agates are lustrous glass pebbles with hand blended colors that give the cabochons subtle color variations. Agates are made with hand blending of the raw materials, this creates a natural appearance and a variety of each agate. Download the brochure click here.
  • Grit is produced in a range of 15 shades of colours, with crisp contemporary edge, and a rustic surface texture that is naturally slip resistant. Crafted using a small batch extrusion process, flat to within 2% of length and absorption of less than 1%moisture.

material, glass, recycled glassImage Source

Technical information

  • Translucence – 0-50%
  • Smooth texture
  • Strong fire resistance
  • Good UV resistance
  • Good weather resistance
  • Resistant to fading, staining and discoloration
  • Impervious to liquids and vapors

material recycled glass, glass, recycled materialImage Source

Material – Spray on Fabric

material, fabric, plasticMany of us have heard recently about some kind of fabric that is sprayed directly on a human body, creating a cloth.

Dr Manel Torres is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fabrican Ltd. 2003, which has been technically developed at Imperial College London. Whilst studying an MA and PhD in Fashion and Women’s Wear at the Royal College of Art London 1995-2001, Manel developed the idea for a material spraycan to ‘fit the body like a second skin’.

Torres has received the 2003 feasability SMART Award and 2006 AEDA award for his innovative invention.

Fabrican is a unique product which links science to art and design – a spray-on fabric designed to be used across an array of markets. It was initially intended solely for fashion, however Manel is exploring the potential of this technology for healthcare, household and industrial sectors.

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How it works

Once sprayed onto your body, the pressurised liquid turns instantly into a fabric. Each squirt from the can sends thousands of cotton fibers splattering against your skin. The fibers then bend together to form a disposable garment that peels away when you undress. Since the fibres are delivered in a diffused form, other elements can easily be added, like perfumes, pigments or treatments. The web of cloth is obviously quite thin but if you spray more lavishly you can get a rather dense fabric.

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Spray-on fabric permits the use of innovative shapes, varying thicknesses, and biomimetic forms unobtainable by any other means.

Here are some videos where you can get a visual understanding of how it works.

Science in action – a runway

T-Shirt Spray on


A key product development is an aerosol for artists and home users to apply spray-on fabrics to home and professional designs coming on the market in 2011.

I think this will be fantastic! I just can’t wait to get one of these aerosols and experiment myself. In my opinion, this spray on fabric has opened a whole new way of creating things much faster.

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I have notices that, these cotton fibers look like spiders have made it. And when this fabric will be available in stores, this will be a perfect solution for those who usually go to some parties. Just spray on a dress, a top, a shirt, whatever you want. Mix colors and create you own texture, and at the end of the day, just take it of.

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Material – Graphic Concrete

material, concrete, graphite, productGraphic Concrete, a company out of Helsinki, has created a whole new look at a such simple and common material as concrete. We all imagine this material as grey, cold and solid block that is mainly used in architecture.

But the Finnish company make us to see concrete in a whole new light. Graphic Concrete uses  a patented technology to add a pattern to the surface of any concrete plane.


The patented Graphic Concrete technology involves applying a surface retarder to the surface of a special membrane and this method allows concrete product manufacturers to produce different types of high-quality patterned concrete elements and slabs.

material, concrete, graphite, productImage Source

The unique technology enables a cost effective and high quality production of textures, raster patterns, repeated patterns, or even sharp images, works of art or written text on a concrete surface. The use of pure membrane without any surface retard produces velvet pure cast surfaces.

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Designers may select patterns from the GCCollection or develop their own designs using GCPro custom design software. The concrete surface can also be even, in which case the options are smooth and velvety (GCSmooth) or a completely exposed fine aggregate finish (GCExpose).

material, concrete, graphite, product, textureImage Sources: www.saumadesign.net

The best thing about this all is that custom designs are also available – which means there is no end to the creativity that can be applied to something that would otherwise be an ordinary surface!

Technical data:

  • Glossiness – Matt
  • Translucence – 0%
  • Hardness – Hard
  • Temperature – Cool
  • Strong fire resistance
  • Good UV resistance
  • Good weather resistance
  • Good scratch resistance
  • Weight – Heavy

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The patterned concrete can be used for façades, walls, garden slabs, or pretty much anywhere you want to funk up a flat surface.

material, concrete, graphite, productImage Sources: www.xymara.com

Material – Jelly Tiles

material, plastics, jelly tilesHave you ever wondered if your bathroom’s walls were soft and their look could be easy changed. Designer Keiko Oyabu from Japan has created  colorful, semi-transparent tiles made of an innovative material called Polyurethane gel (Technogel). Although, this design was created in 2006 for many and for me it is something new.

Polyurethane provides softness and transparency to the tiles. The transparency of the tiles makes them a decorative addition to transparent or semi-transparent surfaces like glass. Polyurethane gel which has a controllable softness allows the tiles to be used for safety reasons for elderly and for children.

The tiles have a wave shape on them. The tiles are adhesive in the back. They are available in multiple colors.

plastics, material, tilesImage Source

Jelly tiles can be applied to any smooth and shiny surface. The Sticky back part allows tiles to be applied easily and to be taken off the surface to allow multiple changes in the decoration. If tiles are not so sticky after multiple usage,  you just have to wash and let them dry. It will be sticky again.

plastics, material, jelly tilesImage Source:

Technical data

  • Good weather resistance;
  • Good scratch resistance;
  • It is not renewable;
  • Glossiness – Satin;
  • Translucence is from 50 – 100%;
  • Dimensions are 125 x 125 mm;
  • Thickness is 11 mm.
  • Can be cut for any dimension smaller.

You can check out designer’s site to see more:

Material – NatureWorks biopolymer

material, plastic, NatureWorks biopolymer, eco polymerEnvironment friendly, harmless to a nature, eco friendly. Now everything we create should be “green” otherwise you might not get noticed. That’s why I want you to get some information about eco friendly plastic.

Ingeo™ biopolymer is the world’s first and only performance plastic made from 100% annually renewable resources. It offers the cost and performance necessary to compete with traditional petroleum-based materials in the packaging and serviceware markets. Clear and strong like petroleum-based plastic, but with the crucial benefit of being commercially compostable.

Today, NatureWorks LLC uses dextrose, a natural sugar derived from the starch in kernels of corn (maize) as the primary raw material for Ingeo™ biopolymer. (Other agricultural raw materials, such as rice, sugar beets, sugar cane, wheat and sweet potatoes, can also serve as sources for the starch or sugars used to make Ingeo™ biopolymer, so in the future, the polymer could be made from other dominant, locally available crops.)

A broad family of over 15 plant based Ingeo biopolymer grades are produced in NatureWorks’ world scale, 140,000 ton/year capacity facility in Blair, Nebraska.

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This polymer resin usage can be; clear, opaque, flexible or rigid. It provides a gloss and clarity similar to polystyrene. Like polyester it exhibits tensile strength and modulus comparable. Besides it resists grease and oil, and offers a good flavour and odour barrier. It provides heat sealability at temperatures equivalent to polyolefin sealant resins.

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Ingeo is used commercially in the production of extruded and thermoformed containers, fibers and non-wovens, films, and extrusion and emulsion coatings. In many cases it is processed – extruded, blown and injection molded – using conventional equipment with only minor modification. While this simplifies the displacement of traditional polymers in established markets it demands tight control of polymer properties.

material, biopolymer, eco plastic
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Perfect for Grab-n-Go applications. A great replacement for fossil based plastic containers, since it is the world’s first polymer showing a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions throughout its lifecycle.

Some Technical data

  • Fire resistance – Strong
  • Translucence   - 50-100 %
  • Good weather resistance
  • Renewable
  • Conversion process -
  1. Injection Molding
  2. Blow Molding
  3. Vacuum Forming
  4. Label printing/manufacturing
  5. Thermoforming
  • Scratch resistance can be moderated
  • Poor acoustics

material, biopolymer, eco plasticImage Sources: www.icis.com

More infromation about Ingeo Biopolymer