Julian M. Allwood and Jonathan M. Cullen, the authors of Sustainable Materials, have engineering backgrounds, and that allows them to discuss an area that doesn’t receive enough attention—making buildings and goods more efficient by making their component materials more efficient. The authors understandably put a great deal of focus on steel and aluminum, but also discuss other materials including paper, plastic, and cement. A few examples of the many sustainable solutions the authors propose include: designing goods that will last longer, and therefore reduce the need for more materials; using different kinds of trusses and beams to reduce the amount of metal used to build structures; and producing aluminum using a more efficient electrolysis method. Though the authors have expertise in their subject, and it shows, they also write engagingly, explaining production methods and yield analysis in a way that a general audience can understand, and that will hopefully inspire industry to put these ideas into practice.
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