Designing Our Future: New Materials Library at SJSU

We are very excited to offer King Library users access to SJSU Library’s first materials library. 

Samples hanging in materials library
The King Library now offers this materials collection for students, faculty and staff to view samples from Materials ConneXion, a consultancy that helps designers source advanced materials for their projects. Pieces in the collection correspond with a full description of their properties in the Materials ConneXion database of over 8,000 polymers, glass, cement-based, metals, ceramics, carbon-based and process materials. The library’s collection currently contains 500 materials, with over 200 polymers, 120 natural samples, 60 process materials, 20 metals, and over a dozen glass, ceramics, cement-based and carbon-based samples. Future plans include growing the collection to 1,500. This will allow the library to circulate smaller collections, like those in the industrial design lab, to other departments on campus. We hope the Materials Library will inspire our students to learn sustainable product design by understanding how the chemistry of these materials affect design and construction.  

Dr. Sheryl Ehrman, Don Beall Dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering remarked, “I think the Materials Library will be a game changer. Students and faculty might have an idea about what materials they could use for a project, and by now having access to the Materials Library, they can learn more about the material and get a physical sense of its properties. But even better, by being able to browse the collection, they might be inspired to try different materials they had not considered before, resulting in a better design outcome.”  

The idea for the Materials Library came from College of Humanities and Arts industrial design faculty members Kohar Scott and John McClusky. Scott and McClusky started the university’s first collection in the industrial design prototyping lab with 50 materials. According to Scott, “We are so excited to have the first ever publicly available materials library in King Library. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a material sample is worth a thousand pictures. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to be inspired, research and validate physical properties, attributes and finish of materials. The materials of today are solving problems through their physical properties and having access to that tangible experience is vital to cutting-edge, 21st century curriculum at SJSU for both students and faculty.” 

The Materials Library will also house the beginnings of a prototyping lab with several 3D printers and a Glowforge 3D laser cutter. The Materials Library and the prototyping lab are adjacent to the new incubation space sponsored by the SJSU Innovation Design Collaborative in the library’s lower level. Hours for the Materials Library are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The library will be hosting an open house for the collection in September.

(This article repeated verbatim from the SJSU Library's Fall 2018 Academic Gateway newsletter.)