Michael F. Ashby

Michael Farries Ashby CBE FRS FREng[2][4] (born 20 November 1935) is a British metallurgical engineer.[1] He served as Royal Society Research Professor, and a Principal Investigator (PI) at the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge. He is known for his contributions in Materials Science in the field of material selection.[5][6]

Michael Ashby

Michael F. Ashby in 2017
Michael Farries Ashby

(1935-11-20) 20 November 1935[1]
EducationCampbell College[1]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA, MA, PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsMaterials science
ThesisThe metallography and mechanical properties of internally oxidised copper alloys (1961)
Doctoral studentsLorna Gibson[3]


Ashby was educated at Campbell College in Belfast and the University of Cambridge where he studied the Natural Sciences Tripos as a student of Queens’ College, Cambridge.[1] He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Metallurgy in 1957 (First Class Honours); his Master of Arts degree in 1959 and his PhD in 1961.[1]

Career and research

By conducting numerous studies on the active deformation mechanisms under different temperature conditions, M.F. Ashby developed a graphical approach for determining these mechanisms. He generalizes this approach to the broader field of material selection by developing the software CMS(Cambridge Materials Selector)in collaboration with David Cebon, with whom he co-founded Granta Design Limited. He also collaborated extensively with Yves Bréchet (CNRS Silver Medal). He continued to work on the software to improve its pedagogical value across Materials Education ( CES EduPack[7] – used at more than 1000 universities worldwide and value to industry (CES Selector[8]). This software is currently available from the company Granta Design, of which he is the chairman.

Ashby has revolutionized the approach to the selection of materials to take into account four aspects: feature, material, geometry, and processes; moreover, he worked with the division in classes and subclasses. In doing so he has developed a comprehensive approach that associates to the expected mechanical functions of an object a performance index that has to be optimized. These indices allow to better take into account all the properties required of a material, such as specific stiffness (ratio between the elastic modulus and density) instead of single elastic module. His approach allows one to rationally choose the most suitable materials for each application.

In practice, this approach firstly asks to identify the performance index starting from the expected function and geometry. Then it is possible to select thresholds for certain properties in order to select the most useful materials from those present in a database that has some 80,000 materials. The division into classes allows pre-selecting representative materials and therefore working only with certain classes of materials. Finally, the selected materials are shown in a 2-dimensional chart, called the Ashby diagram, in order to view those with the highest performance index. These diagrams often contain also nanostructured materials and composites.

  • Materials Selection for Mechanical Design – standard text used around the world.
  • Materials and Design – book – Aesthetic attributes as well as technical attributes of materials, making products delightful as well as functional.
  • Materials Processing Science and Design- introductory textbook – trying to motivate engineers to learn about materials by starting with design.

In more recent years he has concentrated on materials and the environment and sustainability, writing award-winning textbooks and pioneering teaching methods to get this complex topic across to engineering students. He has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education by having a teaching prize named after him[9].

Ashby has achieved a remarkably innovative work in the areas of materials, design, and sustainability[10] as well as in that of pedagogy. His works on materials are comparable to those of Carrega and Colombié. His former doctoral students include Lorna Gibson.[3]


  • Ashby, Michael F. 'Materials and Sustainable Development', Butterworth Heinemann, 2015 ISBN 9780081001769
  • Ashby, Michael F. 'Materials and the Environment: Eco-informed Material Choice', Butterworth Heinemann, 2009. 2nd Edition 2012 ISBN 9780123859716
  • Ashby, Michael F., Shercliff, Hugh and Cebon, David 'Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing, and Design'. Butterworth Heinemann, 2007. 3rd Edition 2013 ISBN 9780080977737
  • Ashby, Mike and Johnson, Kara 'Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Materials Selection in Product Design' Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 2002 ISBN 0-7506-5554-2
  • Ashby, M.F. 'How to Write a Paper', 7th Edition 2011
  • Ashby, M.F. 'Materials Selection and Process in Mechanical Design', Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1999 ISBN 0-7506-4357-9
  • Ashby, M.F. and Cebon, D. 'Case studies in Materials Selection', First Edition, Granta Design Ltd, Cambridge, 1996 ISBN 9780750636049
  • Ashby, M.F. and Gibson, L.J. 'Cellular Solids Structure and Properties', Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997 ISBN 0-521-49911-9
  • Asbhy, M.F. and Jones, D.R.H. 'Engineering Materials 1, Second Edition', Butterworth Heineman, Oxford, 1996 ISBN 978-0080966656
  • Ashby, M.F. and Jones, D.R.H. 'Engineering Materials 2, Second Edition', Butterworth Heineman, Oxford, 1998 ISBN 9780080545653
  • Ashby, M.F. and Waterman, N.A. 'The Chapman and Hall Material Selector', Chapman and Hall, London, Volumes 1-3, 1996
  • Ashby, M.F. and Frost H.J. 'Deformation-mechanism maps: the plasticity and creep of metals and ceramics', Pergamon, 1982 ISBN 9780080293387
  • Michael F. Ashby 'Materials Selection in Mechanical Design Pergamon Press 1992 (2nd edition 1999 3rd edition 2005 4th edition 2010) ISBN 978-1856176637

Honours and awards

Ashby's awards and honours include:


  1. Anon (2017). "Ashby, Prof. Michael Farries". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U5816. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. Anon (1979). "Professor Michael Ashby CBE FREng FRS". Royalsociety. London: Royal Society. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)
  3. Gibson, Lorna Jane (1981). The elastic and plastic behaviour of cellular materials (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. doi:10.17863/CAM.14049. OCLC 276947761. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.257054. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. "List of Fellows of the RAEng". Raeng.org.uk. London: Royal Academy of Engineering.
  5. "Professor Michael F Ashby". Edc.eng.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  6. Michael F. Ashby publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  7. "CES EduPack - Granta Design". Grantadesign.com. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  8. "CES Selector - Granta Design". Grantadesign.com. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  9. "Awards » ASEE Materials". Materials.asee.org. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  10. "TAA announces 2016 Textbook Award winners". Blog.taaonline.net. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  11. "Awards | FEMS - The Federation of European Materials Societies". www.fems.org. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  12. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 25 April 2011.

 This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.