3.1 Technical principles

3.1.1 Materials and their applications

Content

Potential links to maths and science

Students are expected to be able to name specific materials for a wide range of applications.

They must also be able to provide detailed and justified explanations of why specific materials and combinations of materials are suitable for given applications, with reference to:

  • physical and mechanical properties (working characteristics)
  • product function
  • aesthetics
  • cost
  • manufacture and disposal.

Understand the appropriate use of materials including polymers, composites, woods and metals based on their physical and working characteristics such as:

  • malleability
  • toughness
  • hardness
  • resistance to corrosion and degradation
  • thermal conductivity
  • electrical conductivity.

Calculation of quantities of materials sizes and costs.

Classification of materials

Content

Potential links to maths and science

Students should know and understand the classifications of the following materials and be able to name examples that belong to each category:

  • metals (ferrous, non-ferrous, alloys)
  • woods (hardwoods, softwoods, manufactured boards)
  • polymers (thermoplastics, thermoset polymers, elastomers)
  • papers and boards
  • composites
  • smart materials
  • modern materials.
 

Methods for investigating and testing materials

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be able to describe how workshop and industrial tests are set up and what will be tested, measured and compared, including:

  • tensile strength
  • toughness
  • hardness
  • malleability
  • corrosion
  • conductivity.

Analysis of data obtained from testing.

3.1.2 Performance characteristics of materials

Performance characteristics of papers and boards

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be able to name different types of papers and boards.

Students should be able to describe the performance characteristics of papers and boards, including:

  • the ability to be scored
  • cutting
  • folding
  • surface qualities for printing
  • impact resistance
  • recyclability and/or biodegradability.

Students should be able to explain why different papers and boards are suitable for different applications, including:

  • layout paper: sketch pads
  • cartridge paper: printing
  • tracing paper: copying images
  • bleed proof paper: marker rendering
  • treated paper: photographic printing
  • watercolour paper: painting
  • corrugated card: packaging
  • bleached card: greeting cards and high quality packaging
  • mount board: modelling
  • duplex card: food packaging
  • foil backed and laminated card: drinks packaging
  • metal effect card: gift packaging
  • moulded paper pulp: eco-friendly packaging.

Efficient use of materials in the construction of containers through 2D net design.

Effective selection of materials to allow for recyclability, biodegradability and stability.

Performance characteristics of polymer based sheet and film

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be able to name different types of polymer based sheet and film.

Students should be able to describe the performance characteristics of polymer based sheet and film, including:
  • the ability to be scored
  • cutting
  • folding
  • moulding
  • transparency
  • translucency
  • flexibility
  • recyclability and/or biodegradability.
 
Students should be able to explain why different polymer based sheet and film are suitable for different applications, including:
  • foam board: model making
  • fluted polypropylene: signs and box construction
  • translucent polypropylene sheets: packaging
  • styrofoam: modelling and formers
  • low density polyethylene sheet: wrapping, packaging and bags
  • plastazote foam: protective packaging
  • cellulose acetate: packaging
  • polyactide sheet and film: biodegradable packaging.
 

Performance characteristics of woods

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the different stock forms of timber, including:

  • rough sawn
  • planed square edge (PSE)
  • planed all round (PAR)
  • natural timber
  • manufactured boards
  • mouldings.
 

Students should be able to describe the performance characteristics of woods, including:

  • grain pattern
  • grain direction
  • surface defects
  • warpage
  • shrinkage
  • splitting
  • joining
  • forming
  • steam bending
  • laminating
  • machining qualities
  • resistance to decay
  • moisture resistance
  • toxicity.
 

Students should be familiar with the following woods and wood products:

  • softwoods:
    • pine
    • spruce
    • Douglas fir
    • redwood
    • cedar
    • larch
  • hardwoods:
    • oak
    • ash
    • mahogany
    • teak
    • birch
    • beech
  • manufactured boards:
    • plywood
    • marine plywood
    • aeroply
    • flexible plywood
    • chipboard
    • medium density fibreboard (MDF)
  • veneers and melamine formaldehyde laminates.
 

Performance characteristics of metals

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the different stock forms of metals, including:

  • sheet
  • plate
  • bar:
    • flat
    • round
    • square
    • hexagonal
  • tube:
    • round
    • square
    • rectangular
    • hexagonal
  • structural:
    • H beam
    • I beam
    • tee
    • channel
    • angle.
 

Students should be able to describe the performance characteristics of metals, including:

  • hardness
  • toughness
  • malleability
  • elasticity
  • tensile strength
  • density
  • resistance to corrosion
  • thermal conductivity
  • electrical conductivity
  • melting points
  • ability to be alloyed
  • ability to be joined with heat processes
  • ability to take applied coatings and finishes.
 

Students should be familiar with the following metals:

  • ferrous:
    • low carbon steel
    • stainless steel
    • high speed steel (HSS)
    • medium carbon steel
    • cast iron
  • non-ferrous:
    • aluminium
    • copper
    • zinc
    • silver
    • gold
    • titanium
    • tin
  • ferrous alloys:
    • stainless steel
    • die steel (tool steel)
  • non-ferrous alloys:
    • bronze
    • brass
    • duralumin
    • pewter.
 

Performance characteristics of polymers

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the different stock forms of polymers, including:

  • sheet
  • film
  • granules
  • rod and other extruded forms
  • foam
  • powder.
 

Students should be able to describe the performance characteristics of polymers, including:

  • toughness
  • elasticity
  • insulation (thermal and electrical)
  • UV resistance
  • ability to be moulded
  • resistance to chemicals and liquids
  • melting points
  • suitability for food packaging applications
  • biodegradability
  • recyclability
  • self finishing
  • ability to be combined with other polymers and/or additives.
 

Students should be familiar with the following polymers:

  • thermoplastic:
    • low density polyethylene (LDPE)
    • high density polyethylene (HDPE)
    • polypropylene (PP)
    • high impact polystyrene (HIPS)
    • acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
    • polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)
    • nylon
    • rigid and flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
    • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • thermosets, with specific reference to their:
    • urea formaldehyde (UF)
    • melamine formaldehyde (MF)
    • polyester resin
    • epoxy resin.
 

Elastomers

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be able to explain the suitability of elastomers for given applications making reference to relevant physical and/or mechanical properties, including:
  • ability to be stretched and then return to original shape
  • texture
  • self finishing
  • non-toxic.

Students should understand how elastomers are used to enhance products, for example in producing grips for improved ergonomics.

 
Students should be familiar with the following elastomers:
  • natural rubber
  • polybutadiene
  • neoprene
  • silicone
  • Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE).
 

Biodegradable polymers

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be able to explain the suitability of biodegradable polymers for given application making reference to relevant physical and/or mechanical properties, including:
  • ability to be moulded into 3D products or film
  • ability to degrade with the action of UV rays (sunlight), water or enzymes present in soil.

Students should understand how biodegradable polymers degrade.

 
Students should be familiar with the following biodegradable polymers:
  • corn starch polymers
  • potatopak
  • biopol (bio-batch additive)
  • polyactide (PLA)
  • polyhdroxyalkanoate (PHA)
  • water soluble: lactide, glycolide (Lactel and ecofilm).
 

Composites

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students need to know and understand how materials are combined to make composites with enhanced properties.

Students should be able to explain the suitability of composites for given application making reference to relevant physical and/or mechanical properties, including:

  • ability to be moulded into a variety of 3D forms
  • enhancement of physical and/or mechanical properties
  • ease of manufacture for some uses against traditional materials
  • improved product performance.

Students should be familiar with the following composites:

  • carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP)
  • glass reinforced plastic (GRP)
  • tungsten carbide
  • aluminium composite board
  • concrete, including reinforced concrete
  • fibre cement
  • engineered wood, eg glulam (glued laminated timber).
 

Smart materials

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should know and understand the term smart material.

Students should be able to explain the suitability of smart materials for given applications making reference to how the material responds to external stimuli, including:
  • changes in temperature
  • changes in light levels
  • changes in pressure (force).
 
Students should be familiar with the following smart materials:
  • shape memory alloys (SMA), eg Nitinol
  • thermochromatic pigment
  • phosphorescent pigment
  • photochromic pigment
  • electroluminescent wire
  • piezo electric material.
 

Modern materials

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should know and understand the term modern material.

 

Students should be able to explain the suitability of modern materials for given applications.

 
Students should be familiar with the following modern materials:
  • kevlar
  • precious metal clay (PMC)
  • high density modelling foam
  • polymorph.
 

3.1.3 Enhancement of materials

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students are expected to be able to describe enhancement methods for given materials and explain their suitability for specific product applications.

Understand the appropriate use of materials, including polymers, composites, woods and based on their physical properties.

Polymer enhancement

Content Potential links to maths and science

The use of additives to enhance properties, including:

  • UV stabilisers to prolong the life of polymers
  • bio-batch materials to encourage biodegradability.

Students should be familiar with how additives are used in specific polymer products, eg patio furniture, food packaging and carrier bags.

 

Wood enhancement

Content Potential links to maths and science

The combining of natural timber with resins and lamination to give enhanced properties, eg increased strength and stability.

Enhancing timber products with preservatives, finishes and coatings.

 

Metal enhancement

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of heat treatment methods of enhancing metals, including:
  • case hardening
  • hardening and tempering.
 

3.1.4 Forming, redistribution and addition processes

Paper and board forming processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the ways that paper and board can be shaped into different products such as packaging.

Specific process to include:

  • die cutting
  • laser cutting
  • creasing
  • bending.
 

Polymer processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of how polymers can be formed into 3D products.

They should be able to describe the different forming methods.

 

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different forming methods for a range of specific products and scales of production.

Specific process to include:
  • vacuum forming
  • thermoforming
  • calendaring
  • line bending
  • laminating (layup)
  • injection moulding
  • blow moulding
  • rotational moulding
  • extrusion
  • compression moulding.
 

Metal processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of how metals can be shaped into 3D products.

They should be able to describe the different forming methods.

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different forming methods for a range of specific products and scales of production.

Specific processes to include:

  • press forming
  • spinning
  • cupping
  • deep drawing
  • forging
  • drop forging
  • bending
  • rolling
  • casting:
    • sand casting
    • die casting
    • investment casting
    • low temperature casting (pewter).
 

Students should be aware of the different permanent and temporary joining methods for metals.

They should be able to describe the different methods.

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different joining methods for a range of specific products and scales of production.

Including addition/fabrication processes:
  • metal inert gas (MIG) welding
  • tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
  • spot welding
  • oxy-acetylene welding
  • soldering (soft and hard)
  • brazing
  • riveting
  • temporary joining methods and fasteners:
    • self tapping screws
    • machine screws
    • nuts and bolts.
 

Students should be aware of the different wasting processes.

They should be able to describe the different processes.

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different wasting processes for a range of specific components and products.

Specific processes to include:

  • milling
  • turning
  • flame cutting
  • plasma cutting
  • laser cutting
  • punching/stamping.
 

Wood processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of how timber can be joined to form different products.

They should be able to describe the different methods.

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different joining methods for a range of specific products and scales of production.

Including:
  • addition/fabrication processes
  • traditional wood jointing:
    • dovetail joint
    • comb joint
    • housing joint
    • half-lap joint
    • dowel joint
    • mortise and tenon
  • component jointing:
    • knock down (KD) fittings
    • wood screws
    • nuts and bolts
    • coach bolts.
 

Students should be aware of how timber can be formed into 3D products.

They should be able to describe the different processes.

They should be able to explain the suitability of the different wasting processes for a range of specific products.

Specific processes to include:

  • laminating
  • steam bending
  • machine processes:
    • turning between centre
    • use of the chuck and faceplate
    • milling
    • routering to produce slots, holes and profiles.
 

3.1.4.5 The use of adhesives and fixings

Content Potential links to maths and science
  • PVA
  • Contact adhesives
  • UV hardening adhesive
  • Solvent cements such as Tensol or acrylic cement
  • Epoxy resin
 

Jigs and fixtures

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of how jigs and fixtures can be used to aid the manufacture of products.

They should be able to describe them and explain their suitability for accurate and repeated manufacture of products.

Dimensions and angles in the design of jigs, fixtures and templates.

3.1.5 The use of finishes

Paper and board finishing

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the ways that paper and board can be finished to enhance their appearance or for improved function.

Specific finishes to include:

  • laminating
  • embossing
  • debossing
  • varnishing, UV varnishing and spot varnishing
  • foil blocking.

Ensure products are designed to take account of potential corrosion due to environmental factors.

Paper and board printing processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the different types of printing processes and their suitability for specific products and scales of production.

Specific processes to include:

  • screen printing
  • flexographic and offset lithographic printing
  • digital printing.
 

Polymer finishing

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the ways that polymers can be finished to enhance their aesthetics or for improved function.

Students should be aware that some polymers are self-finishing and that this should be considered as a polymer finish.

Specific finishes to include:
  • acrylic spray paints
  • thermoplastic elastomer.
 
Students should understand how pigments can be added to polymers in the moulding process, including:
  • gel coats when laminating GRP
  • smart pigments such as thermochromic or phosphorescent.
 

Metal finishing

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the ways that metals can be finished to enhance their appearance or prevent corrosion.

Including applied finishes:
  • cellulose paint
  • acrylic paint
  • electro-plating
  • dip coating
  • powder coating
  • galvanising
  • sealants
  • preservatives
  • anodising
  • plating
  • coating
  • cathodic protection.
 

Wood finishing

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of the ways that woods can be finished to enhance their appearance or prevent decay.

Specific finishes to include:

  • applied finished:
    • polyurethane varnish
    • acrylic varnish
    • water based paints
    • stains
    • colour wash
    • wax finishes
    • danish oil
    • teak oil
  • pressure treating with chemical preservatives.
 

3.1.6 Modern industrial and commercial practice

Scales of production

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to describe, the different scales of production giving example products and specific manufacturing methods.

Specific scales of production to include:

  • one-off, bespoke
  • batch production
  • mass/line production
  • unit production systems (UPS)
  • quick response manufacturing (QRM)
  • vertical in-house production.
 

3.1.6.2 Efficient use of materials

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students must develop an awareness of the relationship between material cost, form, and manufacturing processes, and the scale of production.

  • The development of designs which use materials economically and with regard to their characteristics.
  • The use of manufacturing processes which increase accuracy and reduce waste.
  • The savings to be gained when comparing bulk production with one-off production.
  • The advantages of Just In Time (JIT) manufacture.

Determining quantities of materials.

The use of computer systems

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of how computer systems are used to plan and control manufacturing, reduce waste and respond quickly to changes in consumer demand.

 

Students should be able to explain specific industrial manufacturing systems and their use in the production of given products.

Specific manufacturing systems to include:
  • modular/cell production
  • just in time (JIT)
  • quick response manufacturing (QRM)
  • flexible manufacturing systems.
 

Students should be able to explain the use of computer controlled systems in production, distribution and storage.

Students should be able to explain the use of standardised and bought-in components made by specialist manufacturers.

 

Sub-assembly

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, sub-assembly as a separate line of manufacture for certain parts of a product.

 

3.1.7 Digital design and manufacture

Computer aided design (CAD)

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to describe, the following:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of using CAD compared to a manually generated alternative
  • the use of CAD to develop and present ideas for products, including:
    • the use of 2D CAD for working drawings
    • the use of 3D CAD to produce presentation drawings
  • how CAD is used in industrial applications.

Use of datum points and geometry when setting out design drawings.

The use of tolerances in dimensioning.

Computer aided manufacture (CAM)

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to describe, how CAM is used in the manufacture of products.

Specific processes to include:
  • laser cutting
  • routing
  • milling
  • turning
  • plotter cutting.

Calculating speeds and times for machining.

Virtual modelling

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to describe, how virtual modelling/testing is used in industry prior to product production.

Specific processes to include:

  • simulation
  • computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as used for testing aerodynamics and wind resistance, and flow of liquids within/around products
  • finite element analysis (FEA) as used in component stress analysis.

Interpretation of data from CFD or FEA testing.

Rapid prototyping processes

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to describe, rapid prototyping processes, including 3D printing.

Students should understand, and be able to explain, the benefits to designers and manufacturers.

Calculating volumes of 3D printed products, calculating time/speed for 3D printing.

Electronic data interchange

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to describe, the use of electronic point of sales (EPOS) for marketing purposes and the collection of market research data, including:
  • the maintenance of stock levels
  • the capture of customer data, eg contact details.
 

Production, planning and control (PPC) networking

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to describe, the role of PCC systems in the planning and control of all aspects of manufacturing, including:
  • availability of materials
  • scheduling of machines and people
  • coordinating suppliers and customers.
 

3.1.8 The requirements for product design and development

Product development and improvement

Content Potential links to maths and science

Through the study and critical analysis of existing products, students should develop an understanding of the requirements of the following:

  • the design, development and manufacture of products to meet specification criteria
  • fitness for purpose
  • accuracy of production
  • how the critical assessment of products can lead to the development of new designs.

Students should develop the skills to critically assess products and develop new design proposals.

Students should development their ability to work with a variety of materials, including two- and three-dimensional forms, to produce creative and original products which satisfy the demands of the target market, and consider accurate and efficient manufacture.

When designing products Students should consider aesthetics, ergonomics and anthropometrics.

 

Inclusive design

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and be able to explain, the development of products that are inclusive in their design so that they can be used by a wide range of users including the disabled, children and the elderly.

 

3.1.9 Health and safety

Safe working practices

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, health and safety procedures related to products and manufacturing, including:

  • knowledge of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), and how it influences the safe manufacture of products
  • control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and safety precautions that should be taken with relevant materials
  • safe working practices and identifying potential hazards for the school or college workshop and industrial contexts
  • safety precautions that should be taken with specific manufacturing processes
  • the concept of risk assessment and its application to given manufacturing processes.

Understand why some materials, adhesives and finishes are hazards.

Safety in products and services to the customer

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to explain, how designers and manufacturers ensure products are safe for consumers to use, including:
  • legislation used to protect consumers and its impact on product design, eg Consumer Rights Act (2015), Sales of Goods Act (1979)
  • the British Standards Institute (BSI), and how specific products might be tested to meet safety standards
  • measures to ensure the safety of toys, eg Lion Mark
  • advice to consumers:
    • manufacturer’s instructions
    • safety warnings
    • aftercare advice.
 

3.1.10 Protecting designs and intellectual property

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the importance of the following to the designer:
  • copyright and design rights
  • patents
  • registered designs
  • trademarks
  • logos.
 

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the concept of ‘open design’. Specifically referring to the development of products for the common good of society, including potential use. Students should be able to give examples of this in practice, eg humanitarian projects and file sharing for 3D printing.

 

3.1.11 Design for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and disposal

Manufacture, repair, maintenance and disposal

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the need to modify designs to make them more efficient to manufacture, including:
  • reducing the number of manufacturing processes
  • how the choice of materials affects the use, care and disposal of products:
    • labelling of materials to aid separation for recycling
    • making products easy to disassemble or separate
  • application of the six Rs of sustainability:
    • reduce the quantity of materials, of toxic materials, of damaging materials and associated energy use
    • reuse components and parts
    • rethink by using eco friendly alternative materials
    • recycle materials and/or components into new products
  • maintenance:
    • temporary and integral fixings
    • use of standardised parts
    • allowing for service and repair/replacement of parts
    • ability to upgrade with software downloads.
 

Ease of manufacture

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the different ways in which a product can be designed to allow for more efficient manufacture, including:
  • ribs and webbing to reduce material thicknesses
  • snap fittings to remove the need for fixings/adhesives
  • internal moulded screw posts for use with self tapping screws
  • use of pre made components
  • use of standardised patterns and sizes
  • addition of texture in moulding to reduce number of manufacturing processes
  • self finishing.
 

Disassembly

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, how a product can be designed and manufactured with disassembly in mind, including integral fixings and active disassembly using smart materials such as SMA and biodegradable parts.

 

3.1.12 Feasibility studies

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the use of feasibility studies to assess the practicality for production of proposed designs, including the testing of prototypes with potential consumers.

Interpret statistical analyses to determine user needs and preferences.

Use data related to human scale and proportion to determine product scale and dimensions.

3.1.13 Enterprise and marketing in the development of products

Content Potential links to maths and science
Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the importance of marketing and brand identity, including:
  • customer identification
  • labelling
  • packaging
  • corporate identification
  • concept of global marketing:
    • the promotion and advertisement of products including the use of new technologies, eg social media, viral marketing
  • product costing and profit
  • awareness of the role of entrepreneurs.

Students should be aware of, and able to explain, the collaborative working of designers in the development of new and innovative products, including virtual and face-to-face collaborative working systems.

Interpretation of market research data, calculating costs and profit.

3.1.14 Design communication

Content Potential links to maths and science

Students should be aware of, and able to explain and demonstrate the skills, in a range of communication and presentation techniques for conveying proposals and intentions to clients, potential users and manufacturers, including:

  • report writing
  • the use of graphs
  • tables and charts
  • 2D/3D sketching
  • the use of mixed media and rendering to enhance drawings
  • dimensioning and details for manufacture.

Scaling drawings.

Use of datum points and geometry when setting out design drawings.

Representation of data used to inform design decisions and evaluation of outcomes.

Presentation of market data, user preferences and outcomes of market research.