4 Ways Material Selection Can Affect Your Invention's Success
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4 Ways Material Selection Can Affect Your Invention’s Success


The invention of a revolutionary material that can dramatically increase the energy efficiency, speed and durability of computers and smartphones was recently announced by University of Victoria scientist Natia Frank. The new material, known as light-induced magnetoresistive random-access memory (LI-RAM), uses light to store and process information instead of using electricity. This can drastically reduce the amount of heat generated by computing devices, potentially enabling computers and smartphones to process information as fast as a supercomputer. The university estimates that the amount of electricity currently generated by information communications technologies, which currently accounts for 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, could be cut in half by LI-RAM.

As this illustrates, materials selection can make all the difference when it comes to new inventions. Selecting the right material can be a critical factor in whether your invention is a success or a failure. Here are four ways material selection can affect your invention’s success.

How Not Knowing Material Selection Makes You a Rookie Inventor

Creative Ideas for Material Selection Success

As an inventor, you need firm belief in your creation and there are no better way than choosing the right materials for your production. These are new unconventional ideas for material selection that would propel you towards achieving your dreams.

Development and Production Costs

One of the most direct ways material selection can affect the success of an invention is by affecting production costs. One of the biggest cost hurdles for inventors is the cost of prototyping, which can run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars using traditional materials and methods. Likewise, high production costs can cut into profit margins.

The advent of 3-D printing and the development of 3-D-printable materials have made it possible to drive development and production costs down significantly. For instance, 2016 Startup of the Year winner Apis Cor was able to 3-D print a 409-square-foot house for just $10,134, representing a 70 percent savings from traditional building methods, Futurism says. 3-D printing likewise enables o-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber to produce customized seals from materials such as fluorocarbon for a fraction of the cost that it would cost to custom-make such designs using traditional methods.

Production Efficiency

Efficiency is another benefit of using 3-D-printed materials. Apis Cor was able to produce its 3-D-printed home in just 24 hours. One reason 3-D printing can cut down production time so dramatically is that it works from digital blueprints, enabling architects to rapidly adjust prototype design rather than taking the time it would take to create a new physical model, explains AGi Architects 3D printing specialist Cristina Ruiz Nolasco.

3-D-printed materials and production process are also more energy-efficient than traditional materials. 3-D printing’s design and materials flexibility allows more complex shapes to be produced in a single production step, in structures that only require 25 percent of normal fill percentage to provide structural integrity. Additionally, products can be produced closer to user locations, reducing shipping requirements and energy consumption. Michigan Technology University research has found that 3-D printing materials consumes 41 to 74 percent less energy than using traditional materials and methods.

Quality

Material selection can also have a decisive impact on product quality. Innovative use of a new material that enables quality superior to alternatives can often set a company ahead of competitors.

For example, one exciting new material that innovators are currently exploring is graphene, a material made from thin layers of carbon. MIT scientists have discovered that when graphene is arranged in a specific molecular configuration modeled on coral, it becomes 10 times stronger than steel, while remaining only 5 percent as dense. The result is an incredibly strong, lightweight material that could revolutionize a wide range of industries, from construction to smartphone design.

Marketing

The cost, efficiency and quality advantages of specialized materials can translate into marketing advantages for inventors. Gains in production costs and efficiency can be passed on to consumers in the form of savings, while quality advantages can also be promoted as a selling point.

For example, Glint Photonics, a renewable energy startup, has created a new material that adjusts reflectivity in response to heat changes. This material can be placed over solar panel photovoltaic cells in order to collect more energy with fewer infrastructure requirements, drastically reducing the costs of solar power. Glint Photonics estimates the material could be used to produce electricity for four cents per kilowatt-hour, half the cost of traditional solar panels. Such advantages and savings can become strong selling points when incorporated into a smart marketing campaign.

As a creative inventor, these are new unconventional ideas for material selection that would propel you towards achieving your dreams. Here’s why proper material selection will change your life.

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