Strength & Cost
These are the primary criteria when we decided on the material.
It needs strength for it to be durable. Strength of a material can be quantified by its tensile strength, compressive strength or Young's Modulus.
Cost is also important so that we can adhere to the budget set per toy.
Of course, other requirements are also considered, such as sustainability, safety and availability of materials.
A great way of processing information is to visualise it. Humans are intrinsically better at processing visual information than unsorted data.
To help visualise the various materials available against our requirement, we used CES EduPack by Granta. The software is conveniently colour coded and sort material properties ranges (see left).
Two graphs are produced against our criteria (see left). The first graph shows all materials matching our requirement (black box), which includes bricks... Hence a second graph containing only wood (green circles) is created.
Now that we know it is going to be wood, but what type of wood?
After an initial narrowing down of materials, we have 3 types of wood left: medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood and wood chipboard.
While MDF is good for the environment in that it uses reclaim wood, it also contains formaldehyde, which is an irritant.
Wood chipboard, also uses reclaimed wood is prone to cracking and creates unappealing edges
In the end, we are left with plywood, which best fit our needs.