Which will be the lucky material? -Libertad E.

As Neon Shield’s Tool Up – Deliverable 2: Design Proposal is just around the corner we have had to consider different factors for our product design. Our group has looked at the physiological and biomedical aspects, materials, product regulations and standards, and design development techniques including sketches and decision matrices. One of the most important things to consider when designing a product is materials. If you think about it like baking, you can’t make the cookies without first figuring out and acquiring your ingredients. Even once you know what you need, there are different types and brands of each ingredient and you have to consider which are healthier and taste better. In material research our group has to consider a number of factors, including efficiency, durability, manufacturing, and affordability. The two main components of our proposed design are the lights and body.

Neon Shields Proposed Design Sketch

Potential materials we have discussed for the light source are LEDs, also know as Light Emitting Diodes. LEDs are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. LED lighting is different from other lights sources, such as incandescent and CFL. In general LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting. Common LED colors include amber, red, green, and blue. There is no such thing as a “white” LED light, to get the white light different color LEDs are mixed or covered with a phosphor material that converts the light color. LEDs are “directional” light sources which means they emit light in one specific direction, unlike incandescent and CFL which emit light in all directions.

Colored LED Lights (Photo Source: http://lolalovesgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/colors.jpg)
Aluminum vs Stainless Steel (Photo Source: http://www.buzzle.com/img/articleImages/600913-53430-4.jpg)

LEDs are versatile, because they can be used in different light fixtures such as for light strips and bars, car bulbs, household lighting, off road light bars, work lights, landscape lighting, truck lights, vehicle and strobe lights, accent lighting, motorcycle lights, boat and RV lighting, and flashlights. As of right now we have had varying answers for what color is the brightest, such as blue, white or green. During some research I came upon a good website, Photon Light, which according to them white light is the brightest. It also explains how different colored lights are preferred for different tasks and environments. Red LED Beams are favored by pilots, sailors, fishermen, and astronomers, because it does not disturb night vision. Yellow is a traditional flashlight beam color, because of its good projection. Orange is a good combination of Red and Yellow beams. Green light is nearly as bright as blue, turquoise, and white lights while offering a slightly longer battery life. Blue is extremely bright and is an excellent all around flashlight. Turquoise (Night Vision Green) is arguably slightly brighter than blue and can light up entire room. Purple produces a black light effect and emit some UV light, which can be harmful if viewed directly. Eventually our team will have to create some sort of decision matrix based on brightness, efficiency, longevity, and affordability to determine the best color and type of LED light.

For the actual body of the device we have discussed different materials such as aluminum, stainless steel and plastic. Aluminum is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust making it relatively cheap. Aluminum is a very light metal with a specific weight of 2.7kg dm-3 about a third that of steel, used to decrease dead-weight and energy consumption while increasing load capacity. The strength of aluminum is adaptable to the application required by changing the composition of its alloys. It is a good reflector of visible light as well as heat. Aluminium foil, even when rolled to only 0.007 mm thickness is still completely impermeable. It is also 100% recyclable with no downgrading of its qualities.

Aluminum (Photo Source: http://www.aflglobal.com/getattachment/c22ddca3-ac9c-4132-a423-7c11c6844727/Aluminum-Clad-Steel-19.aspx;;)

Stainless Steel unlike steel does not readily corrode, rust or stain with water. It is material used where both the properties of steel and corrosion resistance are needed. Compared to Aluminum, stainless steel is harder, but also much heavier. Stainless steel does not transmit heat as well as aluminum and therefore is not as effective in carrying heat away from an LED. Stainless steel is unique, because it is self protective. A thin, transparent layer is formed on the surface, in case the surface is scratched or damaged the thin layer (a few atoms thick) will immediately rebuild using oxygen from air or water. Stainless steel parts though cost more to machine due to their hardness.

Stainless Steel (Photo Source: http://www.acumensales.co.uk/Stainless-Steel-Pipe.jpg)

Plastic has a variety of properties that makes it superior to other materials in many applications. Generally they are resistant to corrosion and chemicals, low electrical and thermal conductivity, high strength-to-weight ratio, available in multiple colors, including transparent, resistant to shock, good durability, low cost, resistant to water, low toxicity and easy to manufacture. If you want to understand how versatile plastic is consider that is is used to make zip lock bags to auto interior panels to security shields. Plastic is also a great material to consider, because we have easy access to it at school with the 3-D Printer.

Plastic (Photo Source: http://www.susanfreinkel.com/images/plastic.jpg)

Soon in the future Neon Shields will release our choice in materials, so look forward to which will be the lucky material to keep Night Commuters safe!

Featured Image Photo Source: http://willettsdesign.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/led2.jpg

-Neon Shields

Your light in the darkness.

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