Possibly related:

The Engineering.SE position on recommendation/finding stuff questions

How to write material design questions

I have a specific piece of equipment in need of a casing. This casing needs to fit a couple of requirements, so I'm looking for the best material to use and related advice.

Can this possibly be an on-topic question? It would most probably fall under but it could very well be too broad or simply phrased wrong.

I could phrase it like a review-request ("I think material X in shape Y is a good idea, is something better available?").

I could phrase it as a specific problem ("What material complies with the following requirements?").

And there are probably a lot more possibilities. How should I respect the site's scope in this case?


2 Answers 2


This sounds like a typical material selection question, and I believe this type of question is fine, as long as you aren't asking for a recommendation of a particular manufacturer or product. Personally I would love to see more of this type of question as this is related to what I do.

Additionally, material selection falls under materials engineering, which falls under engineering. You should not, in my opinion, use the "mechanical engineering" tag for "materials engineering" specific questions, such as a material selection question, unless the question centers on selection of a material for a mechanical purpose. It is of course possible to use material selection principles for aesthetic, thermal, chemical, electrical, nuclear, and multi-domain applications as well.

In order to correctly select an optimal material, one must consider every aspect of the design, including shape, use case, loading, and environment. A material selection solution typically follows a rigorous quantitative process and can be quite involved for non-trivial applications. Even knowing what materials are available and what specific qualitative properties and idiosyncracies they have that may be beneficial or deleterious is not something that is developed except through experience and exposure to a wide array of materials or specialized material database software. It is also important to consider the effect of manufacturability and processing on costs. With all that in mind, it is important for a material selection question to include a lot of relevant information to get a high-quality answer.


I think that this type of question can work.

Also, the more you information (background or your own research and thoughts) that you add to the question, the better responses you usually get.


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