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1) What are the functional and mechanical requirements of your component? 

2) what property of the material could be improved? For this property give comparisons to other candidate materials.

3a) You are an engineer and you were asked to adapt your component to feature on Racing Mountain Bike: Either prove that your current material is the best choice for this component, or if it is not, please suggest the material for this application. You should justify your response using a robust material selection approach that incorporates consideration of the component geometry and loading mode.

b) Now how would your material selection change from the original identified material if you were making a minimal cost mountain bike?

4). From your list of materials in (Question 2) find the material that is the most sustainable choice, justify your answer by considering a life cycle approach.

5) how could you further modify this design? Comment on the benefits and limitations of your new design and compare it to the original and your groups design.

Functional and Mechanical Requirements of the Component

This brief write-up presents a discussion on the selection of material to be used for making a bike component that is functionally intended to feature in the racing competition. Notably, there are critical design factors that must be considered if the bike is to perform the intended purpose. The domineering design factor will be the material strength as it is the most critical factor to ensure functional integrity of the bike remains intact. This will be addressed by answering the following questions:

Firstly, it should be noted that the identified material for the component is low carbon steel alloy. The component under consideration is the fork of the bike and for it to function as desired, the following requirements will have to be met:

Functional Requirements

Mechanical Requirements

Speed- the bike design must incorporate speed aspect as it will participate in racing games where speed is the most determinant factor for sports success

Less weight -It is desired that the bike component should have a high strength-to-weight ratio which would make the rider use less effort in cycling hence achieve the intended speed

Comfort-rider must sufficiently have ease in riding experience


This is critical as failure would occur in structurally weak components; the component must support both the dead and live weights; the tensile stress that is often experienced as rider rides; the bike is often thrown up and down and the weight exert a lot of stress on the component hence the ultimate tensile strength will be the strength parameter for the design.  

Safety-Is directly dependent on the structural integrity of the bike and rider must always feel safe while riding the bike. If it must fail slightly, then fail-safe approach should be adopted.


The surface integrity of the component must be such that it is less susceptible to denting and scratching, otherwise these are the metallographic defects that may be microscopic but due to fatigue cracking can lead to catastrophic failure.

Resilience -bike must withstand the operational conditions such as repeated and frequent loading and the stresses that are developed in the course of riding

Bending capability

The component must also have some mechanical flexibility such that some small amount of deformation may be accommodated


Bike must remain in a level that rider can easily control. It should not repeatedly act jumpy otherwise stability will be far-fetched  

Fatigue resistance

The bike will often be subjected to repeated loading and stresses. The selected material will have to accommodate these dynamics

Although low carbon alloy material has some desirable properties such as: slightly higher strength and good weldability and machinability (Oneal, 2017). However, since it is going to be used to make a component that will be impacted upon by very high stresses, both static and dynamic, it is imperative to improve its strength. This is normally achieved by heat treatment.

(b) Other candidate materials that could as well be considered include: For instance, according to Bell (2017) brass could prove an alternative due to its better machinability, greater hardness, and corrosion resistance. However, brass property depends on the compositional ratio of copper which is a quite expensive material, at least for this case. Bronze can also be considered as an alternative material.

Now, this kind of racing normally involves heavier and stronger bikes to navigate the selected rough terrain in record time. The riders would often be given only two chances to prove their sporting prowess. Riders also have the option of travelling short distances by braking the designated tapes but they must return to the track towards the exit point. Bikes are required to travel as fast as their bikes can withstand.

The requirements for this kind of racing are: Bikers must ride at great speeds, maneuver the rough terrain and be responsible for their own safety given the rough terrain and dangerous undulation expected downhill. Bikes, therefore, are required to be stronger and heavier than normal racing bikes to remain stable as riders go downhill at record speed. Notably, they are required to fail-safe should they fail unexpectedly.

However, it should be noted that the low carbon steel alloy was selected since it compromisingly fits the tabulated requirements. For example, when it comes to the cost aspect, it is very affordable and with some improvements in the integrity of the said properties, it can perform as per the requirements. Besides, alloy steel can easily be obtained especially for largescale production.

Improving Material Properties

Notably, it will be very uneconomical if virgin material could be utilized entirely. However, the recycled brass will have to be considered. Besides, this would lower cost of producing virgin brass and contribute to sustainable production.

Bronze promises to be the best alternative. As mentioned earlier, it is an alloy of copper and zinc. As part of boosting recycling efforts, the recycled brass materials can be used to make the bike fork. This will be an economical and environmentally sustainable choice (School Science, 2017). Besides, in terms of mechanical strength, it is almost at par with the low carbon steel alloy material.  

The CES software provides a tool for life cycle analysis. It is based on the premise of supporting the green innovation initiatives (Lough, 2003). Now the software requires input parameters, for example, the amount of energy expended (which existentially largely comes from fossil fuel source). This data would then be entered so that finally, after running the software, an output may be realized. In our selected choice, we are certain that the output would reveal (if the software was to be run) that the material selection is environmentally sustainable material given that more than 50% of the raw material would be sourced from the recycled brass material.

The material’s machinability could be improved even further so that it can easily be mass produced at relatively affordable production cost. Besides, the savings, as a result of improving its machinability, could go to perfecting its mechanical structural integrity such as hardness and strength. But how could this be done? Now, strength hardening elements such as manganese and iron could be added. Besides, the copper content could slightly be increased.

Brass comes with the desirable property of corrosion resistance hence can be used in environments that are corrosively harsh (Walcownia, 2017). However, the material is more susceptible to fatigue cracking especially when exposed to ammonia (Helmestine, 2016).

However, in the case of strength, additional treatments would be needed to boost the mechanical property so that it can either match or surpass that of low carbon steel alloy material. Typical trace elements to be added include Manganese, Tin, and Iron to boost its strength. Furthermore, should strength improvement be achieved in brass, then the higher strength-to-weight ratio will be achieved, one of the requirements that is so desired (as mentioned earlier).


Oneal. (2017).CARBON & ALLOY STEEL. Available at:

Material Classification. (2013). Properties and Applications of Materials. Available at:

Bell, T. (2017). The Uses and Properties of Bronze. Available at:

School Science. (2017). Copper Recycling and Sustainability. Available at:

Walcownia. (2017). Properties of Brass. Available at:

Helmenstine, A.M. (2016). What Is Brass ?: Brass Composition, Properties, and Comparison With Bronze. Available at:


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