Materials are critical enablers for reducing the resource intensity of society’s industrial, commercial and energy systems. But materials themselves also require resources and can negatively impact humans and the environment, thereby compromising the sustainability of our world. To promote materials development for a more sustainable world, it is essential that the material footprint be better understood and improved for all products and processes. Fundamental research is required that addresses: the creation and sharing of sustainability-related data, metrics and assessments of materials, processes, and performance; use of this knowledge to inform sustainability-focused decision making; improved decision-making tools to enable product and process designers and engineers to incorporate sustainability metrics at the earliest stages of the design phase; and better defined sustainability metrics for policy makers. Strategies must incorporate a life cycle perspective, acknowledging the potential for significant impacts of value recovery at end-of-use, with significant benefits available from remanufacturing, repurposing, reusing, refurbishing, recycling, and materials recovery, thereby reducing the need for continued extraction of virgin feedstock materials. Materials researchers are key to the development and implementation of these important strategies.
This symposium will address the fundamental research challenges associated with properly understanding, assessing and reducing the material footprint of current and future products and commodities that drive our economy and meet the needs of humanity. This symposium will provide a platform for materials researchers and related interdisciplinary experts from industry, academia, and government to present research on sustainable materials development from a life cycle and design perspective, including topics on sustainability-focused materials selection and design tools; data needs, collection and management; and incentivizing change to promote sustainable materials development, and integrated research to move toward circular economies
A complementary suite of sustainability-focused technical and professional development activities is tentatively planned.
A joint session is planned with ES14—Materials Circular Economy for Urban Sustainability.
A tutorial complementing this symposium is also planned, titled "Data-driven Design of Sustainable Materials, Processes and Products in Early Stage R&D: AI/Machine Learning, Coupled with Techno-economic and Life Cycle Analysis, and Metrics for a Circular Economy.”