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Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

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Materials and Design


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An application of the analytic network process in multiple criteria material selection


A.S. Milani a,, A. Shanian b, C. Lynam a, T. Scarinci c
a

School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7 Canada
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, 29 Oxford, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
c
Rolls-Royce Canada, 9500 Cote de Liesse, Lachine, QC, H8T 1A2 Canada
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 11 November 2010
Accepted 27 July 2012
Available online 4 August 2012
Keywords:
Design
Materials selection
Analytic network process

a b s t r a c t
Using the Analytic Network Process (ANP), this article aims at presenting a new concept for multicriteria
material selection by means of allowing feedback and interactions within and between sets of design criteria and alternatives. The approach and its advantages are discussed using a multicriteria material selection case study on non-metallic gears under multifunctional design requirements (thermal performance,
mechanical performance, and weight). In particular, it is shown how the selection of material alternatives
under different criteria can be viewed as a network problem, as opposed to a conventional hierarchical
decision-making process. The effect of different weighting factors of criteria clusters on the nal solution
is also discussed.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Historically, metallic materials have been used in high-risk
components such as airframes and engines. This was originally a
successful strategy and allowed aerospace manufacturers to offer
competitive high performance products. However, as producers
of new materials began to develop lighter and more structurally
sound components, the use of conventional metallic materials
underwent a decreasing trend [1]. In particular, the high
strength-to-weight and high stiffness-to-weight properties of plastics, polymer-based composites and hybrid materials made them
attractive alternatives for structural applications over a wide range
of service conditions [24]. To take full advantage of lightweight
materials, however, their selections should be made with expert
knowledge and care, which is often a challenging task due to the
variety of possible solutions and trade-offs between properties of
candidate materials in complex applications. As a rst step during
decision-making, designers experience and analysis tools are normally used to shortlist the candidate materials. Recently, Aceves
et al. [5] presented a methodology to identify short lists of structural materials from a large number of alternatives, taking into account conicting design objectives and constraints. In particular,
their work described a conceptual framework to aid designers in
selecting an optimum design of composite structures from a large
number of candidate materials that perform differently under
selected criteria including cost and weight.
After a short listing procedure, designers are often left with a
few candidate materials that show no apparent dominance over
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 250 807 9652; fax: +1 250 807 9850.
E-mail address: abbas.milani@ubc.ca (A.S. Milani).
0261-3069/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2012.07.057

each other. For instance, one material can outperform another under a particular set of criteria, but may lack under the rest of criteria. This situation is more pronounced when a large number of
design criteria must be satised simultaneously under a multitude
of design requirements (thermal, mechanical, cost, etc.). Ashby recommended material selection charts for a wide range of engineering applications [6,7]. The material selection procedure in this
method is based on two or three performance indices per chart.
A methodology for material selection of hybrid materials, as well
as generic materials, has also been presented by Ashby and Brchet
[7]. In their work, possible ways of designing hybrid materials are
explored with an emphasis on the shape and scale of mechanical
components. It is discussed how the introduced shape parameters
can expand the design boundaries and allow the development of
new materials with specic property proles. Applications of the
original Ashby method for light materials is also found in a number
of other earlier works; see, e.g., [8] for the design and material
selection of aluminum metal matrix composites. In a more recent
version of the method [9], a technology management concept
was introduced to select suitable materials taking into account
engineering and economic criteria. The Investment Methodology
for Materials (IMMs) introduced in [9] enabled the identication
of promising materials in an early stage of design, as well as a
successful exploitation and material substitution for critical
components.
Valdevit et al. [10] developed a material selection protocol for
lightweight actively cooled panels where failure maps were used
to allow direct comparison of materials thermal and mechanical
performances. Namely, failure maps were presented for candidate
high-temperature superalloys and ceramic matrix composites.
The developed protocol was used for the material selection of a

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

fuel-cooled combustor liner in a hypersonic vehicle. It was shown


that the protocol can be used to establish the capabilities and deciencies of existing panel designs and direct the development of
advanced material systems. Another study by Sadagopan and Pitchumani [11] showed the use of genetic algorithms for material
selection of structural components in conjunction with analytical
microstructureproperty relations.
Thurston and Carnahan [12] presented an application of multiattribute utility theory for material selection in the preliminary
design stages for automotive applications. Karandikar and Mistree
[13] developed a multiobjective optimization-based technique for
assisting designers in tailoring composite materials for specic
technical and economic objectives. Fitch and Cooper [14] presented a life cycle energy analysis as a method for material selection. In particular, their work represented a set of energy
variables to distinguish between energy consumption occurring
during different phases of a products lifetime. Recently, local Taylor-series approximation and strategic experimentation techniques
were developed by Seepersad et al. [15] for assessing the impact of
dimensional and topological imperfections on material properties
and interactive selection of materials, respectively. Fayazbakhsh
and Abedian [16] discussed the application of a Z-transformation
method in material selection. In their work, a preliminary roadmap
was presented for the space environments by engaging the selection process with mechanical properties as well as environmental
factors. It was shown that the integration of environmental factors
in the selection process can yield more sustainable solutions.
When simultaneously evaluating and comparing performance
of materials under a wide list of design criteria, the mathematical
solution of large-scale decision spaces has often been based on the
so called multiple attribute decision making (MADM) methods
[17]. In MADM, the decision variables (attribute values) can be
quantitative or qualitative, boolean or continuous, deterministic
or probabilistic. The possibility of inclusion of material data under
uncertainties using MADM has also been the subject of earlier
investigations [18].
The contribution of published methods in screening and selecting optimal materials and processes has been summarized in a
comprehensive review by Jahan et al. [19]. It was recommended
that the application of MADM improves the material selection procedures and gives exibility to decision makers to apply different
selection logics in different design scenarios. There are several categories of MADM models such as compensatory vs. non-compensatory, quantitative vs. qualitative, scoring vs. ranking, among
others, that can be used by designers to treat different scenarios
of material selection.
In the present work, a new concept in multiple criteria material
selection is presented where outer and inner dependencies between criteria and/or alternatives are allowed. The latter feature
has not been attained in earlier MADM material selection methods
and as will be discussed in the subsequent sections, it can provide a
new possibility for designers to tailor their decision-making logics
and experience in each specic selection problem. The proposed
approach (Section 2) is inspired by the Analytic Network Process
(ANP) which was originally pioneered by Saaty [20] for complex
decision-making problems in management. The application of the
approach is shown using a case study on plastic gear material
selection (Section 3). Conclusions and future work directions are
included in Section 4.
2. Methodological considerations
2.1. How different is ANP from AHP?
Before the Analytic Network Process (ANP), the well-known
Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was introduced by Saaty [21] to

623

solve MADM problems based on hierarchies. AHP can deal with


intuitive, rational, and irrational aspects of decision-making when
criteria are categorized within hierarchies. The number of alternatives and criteria in this method is arbitrary. In the eld of material
selection, the application of AHP has been considered mostly
during the past decade [2224].
A fundamental assumption of AHP is the functional independence of an upper level of the hierarchy to its lower components
(see Fig. 1a for an illustrative example). In addition, it is normally
assumed that there is no inter-dependence between criteria or
alternatives at a given level of hierarchy. This is despite the fact
that many decision-making problems are not structured hierarchically and they involve inner and outer dependences (also referred
to as feedbacks and interactions) between decision factors and/or
alternatives. As a result, Saaty extended AHP and proposed ANP
to cope with the latter difculty [20]. In ANP, an outer dependence
refers to the situation when, e.g., alternatives in a cluster can depend on some criteria that are situated at another cluster. An inner
dependence refers to the situation when elements of a cluster can
inuence each other (i.e., interconnected). Fig. 1b shows a typical
decision making case where there is a goal (selection of the best
material), a set of criteria (material properties or performance indices) and a set of alternatives (candidate materials). Conventionally,
outer dependencies are represented by two-way arrows and inner
dependencies by looped arcs [25]. In the illustrative example of
Fig. 1, criteria (nodes) in cluster 1 can inuence the nodes in cluster
3 and vice versa (outer dependence). In addition, criteria within a
cluster (for example in cluster 2), can depend on each other (inner
dependence). For instance, C1 can be more important than C2 for
the decision maker (DM) when the comparison is made with reference to C3, whereas if he/she compares C2 and C1 with respect to,
e.g., C4, then C2 may be more important. In view of the above
review, AHP may be considered as a special case of ANP.
2.2. The ANP concept for material selection
This section is intended to lay out the concept and motivation
behind the ANP decision aid tool for multiple criteria material
selection applications, as related to the criteria weight assignments
by designers. The main originality of the ANP among MADM methods may be that it allows a greater degree of freedom to dene
these weights. To illustrate this exibility, let us consider a basic
material selection scenario as follows.
Assume we are given two materials (A1 and A2) and two criteria
(C1 and C2) and the goal is to choose the better material with respect to the given criteria. A conventional MADM method would
rst estimate importance factors (weights) of the criteria (say x1
and x2) independent of alternative materials, followed by an
aggregating formula (often called the utility function) to nd the
total score of each material. A simple additive method for the latter
would be:

ScoreA1 x1  C A11 x2  C A21


ScoreA2 x1  C A12 x2  C A22

CA1 1 is the average performance value of A1 under the criteria C1, normally taken from materials handbooks, material properties databases or via mechanical tests. Similarly, C A22 is the average
performance value of A2 under the criteria C2. In the above approach, one should notice that criteria weights are xed and they
cannot vary, even if there is additional information that the designer may possess on each alternative. Formally, in this case the
decision is made in hierarchy, meaning that the upper-level decision elements such as criteria can affect the lower-level elements
such as alternatives, but not vice versa. The ANP concept, on the
other hand, sees the problem as a network where the importance

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A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Level1:

Level 2:

Cluster 1: C1

Goal
(G)

Goal
(G)

Cluster 2:
C2

Criteria
(f1, f2,)

Criteria
(f1, f2,)

Inner
dependence

Cluster 3: C3
Level 3:

Alternatives
(A1, A 2,)

Alternatives
(A1, A 2,)

(a)

A feedback: outer
dependence

(b)

Fig. 1. Example of the structural difference between a hierarchy and a network: (a) a three-level hierarchy and (b) a three-cluster network.

of criteria (weights) may also be judged with respect to alternatives.


In the current case, this means x1 and x2 in Eq. (1) can change from
one material to another.
Practically, there are different situations where an ANP network
structure would be more applicable than a hierarchy. For instance,
the designer during material testing of A2 under one of the criterion
(say C1) may observe that the data scatter (test non-repeatability)
is large, whereas for all other tests, including C1 for A1, it is reasonably comparable. Thus, the performance value of A2 with respect to
C1 should be less reliable compared to the other criteria values. As
a result, he/she would prefer to use this additional information and
dene a different (lower in this case) weight for C1 when scoring
A2. The modied formulas can then be written as:

ScoreA1 x1  C A11 x2  C A21


Adjusted ScoreA2 x1  gA12 C A12 x2  C A22

where gA12 is the adjusting weight representing the extent of the


unreliability of C1 value for material A2; 0 6 gA12 6 1. Note that in
this case, the total weight of C1 becomes dependent of alternatives.
Such a decision exibility can be realized using the ANP concept and
may not be possible using earlier MADM material selection methods. Moreover, the ANP method can encompass an arbitrary number of criteria and alternatives simultaneously and is applicable to
large networks.
2.3. Solution steps in ANP
Similar to AHP, the ANP solution procedure is structured on
pair-wise comparisons between elements of a given decision space
(e.g., in Fig. 1, f1 and f2 with respect to the goal, or A1 and A3 with
respect to f2, etc.). If such data are qualitative, a quantication
method can be used to convert the linguistic terms (such as very
important and equally important) to numbers [17,20]. If the criteria have absolute quantitative values in nature (e.g., material
density, f1, and maximum working temperature, f2), then the exact
(quantitative) comparisons of criteria are straightforward: data can
be normalized to be dimensionless and subsequently it can be inferred that, e.g., f1 is more important than f2 by f1/f2 times. Based on
the quantied pair-wise comparisons, the ANP method denes a
total weight (score) for each node such that the alternatives and
criteria can be eventually ranked. A higher weight means a greater
importance, hence a higher rank. Regarding the case of outerdependence, e.g., in Fig. 1b, relative performance of the elements
in cluster 3 can be similarly compared to parent nodes (criteria)
in cluster 2. An example question from a designer for the latter

comparison would read, How is f2 compared to f3 with respect


to A1? For the inter-dependence case, the designer would have
to answer a question such as, How is f1 compared to f2 with respect
to f3?, and so forth. Note that a designer may also opt to do pairwise comparisons among clusters, in which case the ensuing
weight of a cluster is directly multiplied to all its elements.
The following is a summary of four major steps used in an ANP
solution process [20], taking into consideration its application for
multicriteria material selection.
Step 1. Model construction: For modeling a multicriteria material
selection problem, one should rst select proper material properties as related to a set of functional requirements and performance indices. Performance indices are metrics that combine
individual material properties (and in some cases shape factors)
to arrive at application-specic selection indices [26]. For a
number of mechanical applications, researchers have developed sets of performance indices (see [2] for cellular metal systems; [18] for spur gears; and [27] for microfabricated
electrostatic actuators). Depending on the application, it is possible that a performance index becomes identical to a single
material property [18]. Next, a set of candidate materials
should be suggested, and, if the pool is very large, a screening
method can be applied, e.g., by dening minimum thresholds
for the criteria.
Step 2. Identifying the pair-wise comparison matrices and priority
vectors: Comparison of pairs of elements in the alternatives
cluster is required with respect to their performance towards
functional requirements (criteria). Conversely, if there is an
outer dependence feedback relationship between the alternatives cluster and the criteria cluster, then pair-wise comparisons of criteria should be made given each alternative. In
either case, given a square comparison matrix A, the inuence
of individual elements in the matrix on a control criterion
(under which the elements are compared one to another) is
normally found using the eigenvector method [17]. In this
method, the eigenvector w corresponding to the largest eigenvalue kmax is considered to be the vector of absolute weights
of the elements involved in the comparison matrix:
A  w kmax  w. It is common to normalize each weight vector
so that the sum of its elements becomes one. In ANP, the ensuing weight vectors are referred to as local priority vectors.
Step 3. Supermatrix formation: A supermatrix, W, is a complete
system matrix of all network components, their linkages
and system weights, wij. Let us assume a general case where
there are n clusters such as {Ca, Cb, Cc, . . ., Cn}. Note that in the

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Fig. 2. Structure of an ANP supermatrix [25].

illustrative case of Fig. 1, n = 3 but in more general case, n can be


arbitrarily large (e.g., when each alternatives and/or criterion is
categorized in a different cluster). A given cluster-i in the network
can comprise a single or set of elements: C i fei1 ; ei2 ; . . . ; eimi g;
where mi is the number of elements in the cluster. The local
weights obtained in Step 2 are integrated in the formation of
supermatrix and placed at the appropriate positions according
to the ow of inuence from one cluster to another or from a cluster to itself. The general form of a supermatrix is shown in Fig. 2,
where for instance, wk1 represents a submatrix containing weight
vectors ensuing from pair-wise comparisons of the elements of Ck
cluster with respect to the elements of C1 cluster.
Step 4. Limit matrix and the selection of the best candidate material: By representing the supermatrix in the previous step, the
(nal) global weights of all decision elements in the decision
space are obtained using the mathematical concept of limit
matrix [20]. The limit matrix is frequently used in linear algebra
for matrix exponential calculations. It retains the same dimension as the initial supermatrix, with a maximized consistency
(i.e., with no irrationalities due to the initial pair-wise comparisons made by the decision-maker where two elements at a
time were taken into account only). A material with a higher
global score (weight) is always preferred. Similarly, a criterion
with a higher score is considered to be more important in the
decision space. It is possible that all values of a row in the limit
matrix become identical (equal weight between elements).
Eventually, the ranking of candidate materials is made based
on their global weights.

3. A case study on nonmetallic gear material selection in


secondary power systems

625

expensive heat treatment procedures. One way of reducing the


weight of a secondary power system, at least partly, is through
increasing the use of more plastic/polymer-based composite materials, along with the design of more-electric aircrafts.
In the present case study, four candidate materials are evaluated for their potential application as non-metallic gear accessories
in secondary power systems: Nylon 12, Fiber re-enforced Nylon 12,
Nylon 66 and Delrin. The material properties for these four candidates were chosen based on recommendations in [29], however
other properties or plastic/polymer composite materials could be
included without loss of the generality of the proposed methodology. In the MADM context, it is assumed that all the four candidates have been short-listed and considered as feasible solutions.
To rank them from the best to worst, however, they need to be
compared on the basis of ten criteria listed in Table 1. These criteria have been selected based on design considerations for plastic
gears [29,30] as follows:
Density: It is important for aircraft weight savings [28].
Max operating temperature: Most applications of plastic/composite gears in power systems involve light duty, with a temperature range around 100 C [29].
Thermal conductivity: The heat generated due to frictional contact on the gear teeth should be conducted effectively to avoid
failure.
Coefcient of thermal expansion: Power gears are desired to
expand minimally under temperature variations during service.
Surface fatigue strength & bending fatigue strength: The load
carrying capacity is among most critical factors in design of
gears [31], which relates to the bending fatigue and surface contact fatigue resistance of the gear material.
Slope of SN curve under surface contact and bending fatigue: Service life is another primary requirement in design of aircraft
components. It is known that the slope of SN curve relates to
the crack growth rate under fatigue loading via Paris equation
[32].
Dynamic modulus: Under vibratory conditions, the viscoelastic
behavior of a polymer-based gear is related to the material
dynamic modulus (the ratio of stress to strain), which should
be reasonably high at both normal and increased temperature
conditions.
In Table 1, the effect (direction) of each material parameter on
the gear performance is indicated with a + or  sign; the +
sign denotes a benet-type criterion and  sign indicates a
cost-type (detrimental) criterion. For example, in order to maximize the thermal compatibility of a non-metallic gear within a
transmission, a higher thermal conductivity (f3 +) and a lower coefcient of thermal expansion (f4 ) would be required.
3.1. Results of the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)

The current efforts in aerospace industries for the design of sensitive components involve the treatment of a number of functional
requirements at the same time. These include reducing fuel consumption, cost, weight and enhancing the operability [16]. One
of the most signicant strategies for weight and cost reduction
and enhancing an aircraft performance is realized by simplifying,
integrating or partly eliminating secondary power systems [28].
The secondary power systems are normally used to run the electrical systems of the aircraft, for sensor actuations, environmental
control systems, audiovideo systems, etc. (Fig. 3). They can also
include subsystems, such as gearboxes, lubrication systems,
hydraulic pump/control systems, and pneumatic starting systems
via an auxiliary power unit/APU. In older aircrafts, these subsystems are relatively large, heavy and require excessive pipe work
and cabling. They are often made of machined or forged steels with

Let us rst investigate a solution to the above material selection


problem using the widely used AHP method. The hierarchy structure of the problem is shown in Fig. 4. The arrows represent
pair-wise comparisons where the relative inuence of two elements is compared with respect to an upper level (control) element. As a result, pairs of design criteria can be compared based
on their inuence on achieving the goal, while each pair of materials should be compared with respect to each design criterion. Since
our primary goal here is to compare the capabilities of ANP with
AHP, initially we avoid any subjective weighting of the criteria
and assume all the ten criteria (f1, . . ., f10) are equally important
(i.e., each of the criteria is given a weight of 0.1). Subsequently, a
normalized decision matrix was generated from Table 1 by converting all cost-type criteria to the benet-type criteria. This was

626

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Fig. 3. Schematic of the location of power systems in a typical aircraft.

Table 1
Properties of the selected candidate materials [29].
Characteristic property at 20 C

Unit

Index

Nylon 12
A1

Nylon 12 ber reinforced


A2

Nylon 66
A3

Delrin
A4

Effect on performance

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of thermal expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C

g/cm3
C
W/mK
./C
MPa
MPa
MPa
.
.
MPa

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10

1.01
100
0.29
110
1.6
20
40
7
10
0.3

1.23
100
0.29
30
3.1
18
50
7
15
0.85

1.14
100120
0.23
85
3.2
25
60
7
10
1

1.42
100
0.31
110
3.5
25
70
7
10
1.3


+
+

+
+
+


+

done by taking the inverse of their entries and then normalizing


each row based on the sum of values. The ensuing normalized values are shown in Table 2. Next, pair-wise comparisons of the alternatives with respect to each criterion is directly determined from
the normalized decision matrix (Table 2) by taking the ratio of values for any given pair of alternatives with respect to each criterion.
For example, A1 is 0.2925/0.2402 times more important than A2
with respect to f1. In such situations, the direct use of the decision
matrix in AHP results in the well-known weighted sum method
(WSM) and the two methods become identical [17]. The score of
each alternative material is then found by:

ScoreAi

n
X
pij wj

where pij is the normalized value of material Ai under the jth criterion (i = 1, . . ., 4 and j = 1, . . ., 10); wj are the criteria weights. The
ensuing AHP scores and ranks for the four candidate materials are
given in Table 5 (the rest of this table will be discussed in the subsequent section).
3.2. Results of the Analytic Network Process (ANP)
As discussed in Section 1, ANP is an extension of AHP to allow
feedback and interactions between decision elements. Let us add
a feedback relationship between the alternatives and the criteria

in the given material selection problem to allow solving more complex decision situations by the designer. Fig. 5 shows an ANP structure of the problem where arrows between the criteria and
alternatives are now two-sided. The direction of the arrows represents the context of the pair-wise comparisons in the analysis. For
example, an arrow from f1 to A2 and A3 would ask: With respect to
the density criterion, how does Fiber Reinforced Nylon compare to
Nylon 66? Recalling test data in Table 2, and considering objective
weighting, the latter comparison yields 0.2402/0.2592 = 0.926. On
the other hand, an arrow from A2 to f1 and f4 would ask: Given the
Fiber Reinforced Nylon material, how signicant (or reliable) is its
density performance compared to its coefcient of thermal expansion performance? The inclusion of the reverse question (feedback) gives an opportunity to the decision maker to include more
details that he/she may have on each alternative. We may now
consider two different scenarios as follows.

3.2.1. Design scenario 1


In this scenario it is assumed that the decision maker/designer
has no preference of one criterion over another (i.e., subjective
weights are all equal) and no additional information on each alternative is present. Hence, the reversed question of, e.g., comparing f1
to f4 with respect to A2 yields the value of one. Using similar conditions for the entire pair-wise comparisons in the feedback question, a weighted supermatrix using the SuperDecisions software

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A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Fig. 4. The AHP hierarchal structure employed in the non-metallic gear material selection case study.

Table 2
Normalized decision matrix (benet-type).
Criteria

Index

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of thermal expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10

Nylon 12

Nylon 12 ber reinforced

Nylon 66

Delrin

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.2925
0.2439
0.2589
0.1437
0.1404
0.2273
0.1818
0.2500
0.2727
0.0870

0.2402
0.2439
0.2589
0.5268
0.2719
0.2045
0.2273
0.2500
0.1818
0.2464

0.2592
0.2683
0.2054
0.1859
0.2807
0.2841
0.2727
0.2500
0.2727
0.2899

0.2081
0.2439
0.2768
0.1437
0.3070
0.2841
0.3182
0.2500
0.2727
0.3768

Fig. 5. The ANP structure employed in the case study (each node of a given cluster is connected to all nodes of the other cluster).

628

Table 3
(Weighted) supermatrix for the network of Fig. 5 with feedback.
Coefcient
of expansion

Dynamic
modulus

Surface
fatigue
strength

Bending
fatigue
strength

Slope of SN
curve (surface)

Slope of SN
curve
(bending)

Dynamic
modulus
at 100 C

Nylon
12

Nylon 12
ber
reinforced

Nylon 66

Delrin

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.259
0.259
0.205
0.277

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.144
0.527
0.186
0.144

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.140
0.272
0.281
0.307

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.227
0.205
0.284
0.284

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.182
0.227
0.273
0.318

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.250
0.250
0.250
0.250

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.273
0.182
0.273
0.273

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.087
0.246
0.290
0.377

0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.100
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Coefcient
of expansion

Dynamic
modulus

Surface
fatigue
strength

Bending
fatigue
strength

Slope of SN
curve (surface)

Slope of SN
curve
(bending)

Dynamic
modulus
at 100 C

Nylon 12

Nylon 12
ber
reinforced

Nylon
66

Delrin

Density

f1

f2

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.293
0.240
0.259
0.208

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.244
0.244
0.268
0.244

Thermal
conductivity

Table 4
Limit matrix obtained for the network of Fig. 5 with feedback.

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

Index

Density

Max
operating
temp

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.050
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

Max
operating
temp

Thermal
conductivity

Index

629

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

was found as in Table 3, where the sum of each column is unity.


The ensuing limit matrix is also shown in Table 4. In the weighted
matrix, the normalized weight for each criterion (0.1) is found in
the top-right part of the matrix and the normalize data of Table 2
in the left-bottom part. The zero entries in Table 3 show that no inner-dependence within the criteria cluster or within the alternative cluster was dened. The value in each row of the limit
matrix is considered to be the global score of alternatives and
criteria. The ensuing scores and ranking of candidate materials
are summarized in Table 5. For comparison purposes, ANP scores
in this table have been multiplied by two (since two clusters exist

Table 5
Scores and ranking of alternative materials in design scenario 1.
Nylon 12
A1

Nylon 12 ber
reinforced
A2

Nylon 66

Delrin

A3

A4

AHP

Score using Eq. (1)


Score scaled by
Rank

0.21
0.105
4

0.266
0.133
2

0.256
0.128
3

0.268
0.134
1

ANP

Score
Rank

0.105
4

0.133
2

0.128
3

0.134
1

Table 6
Weighted supermatrix for AHP solution of design scenario 1.

Goal
Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

Index

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

G
f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

0
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0
0
0
0
0

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.293
0.240
0.259
0.208

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.244
0.244
0.268
0.244

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.259
0.259
0.205
0.277

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.144
0.527
0.186
0.144

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.140
0.272
0.281
0.307

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.227
0.205
0.284
0.284

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.182
0.227
0.273
0.318

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.250
0.250
0.250
0.250

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.273
0.182
0.273
0.273

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.087
0.246
0.290
0.377

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Table 7
Limit matrix for AHP solution of design scenario 1.

Goal
Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

Index

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

G
f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

0
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.105
0.133
0.128
0.134

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.293
0.240
0.259
0.208

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.244
0.244
0.268
0.244

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.259
0.259
0.205
0.277

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.144
0.527
0.186
0.144

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.140
0.272
0.281
0.307

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.227
0.205
0.284
0.284

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.182
0.227
0.273
0.318

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.250
0.250
0.250
0.250

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.273
0.182
0.273
0.273

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.087
0.246
0.290
0.377

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Fig. 6. ANP structure in design scenario 2.

630

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

Table 8
Unweighted supermatrix for ANP solution of design scenario 2.

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of thermal expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.293
0.240
0.259
0.208

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.244
0.244
0.268
0.244

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.259
0.259
0.205
0.277

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.144
0.527
0.186
0.144

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.140
0.272
0.281
0.307

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.227
0.205
0.284
0.284

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.182
0.227
0.273
0.318

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.250
0.250
0.250
0.250

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.273
0.182
0.273
0.273

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.087
0.246
0.290
0.377

1.000
0.273
0.545
0.182
0.082
0.136
0.102
0.204
0.408
0.068
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

1.000
0.182
0.273
0.545
0.408
0.082
0.102
0.204
0.068
0.136
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

1.000
0.545
0.273
0.182
0.136
0.204
0.102
0.068
0.082
0.408
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

1.000
0.273
0.545
0.182
0.136
0.102
0.204
0.068
0.082
0.408
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Table 9
Weighted supermatrix for ANP solution of design scenario 2.

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of thermal expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.293
0.240
0.259
0.208

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.244
0.244
0.268
0.244

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.259
0.259
0.205
0.277

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.144
0.527
0.186
0.144

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.140
0.272
0.281
0.307

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.227
0.205
0.284
0.284

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.182
0.227
0.273
0.318

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.250
0.250
0.250
0.250

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.273
0.182
0.273
0.273

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.087
0.246
0.290
0.377

0.500
0.068
0.136
0.045
0.020
0.034
0.026
0.051
0.102
0.017
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.500
0.045
0.068
0.136
0.102
0.020
0.026
0.051
0.017
0.034
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.500
0.136
0.068
0.045
0.034
0.051
0.026
0.017
0.020
0.102
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

0.500
0.068
0.136
0.045
0.034
0.026
0.051
0.017
0.020
0.102
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Table 10
Limit matrix for ANP solution of design scenario 2.

Density
Max operating temp
Thermal conductivity
Coefcient of thermal expansion
Dynamic modulus
Surface fatigue strength
Bending fatigue strength
Slope of SN curve (surface)
Slope of SN curve (bending)
Dynamic modulus at 100 C
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 ber reinforced
Nylon 66
Delrin

f1
f2
f3
f4
f5
f6
f7
f8
f9
f10
A1
A2
A3
A4

f1

f2

f3

f4

f5

f6

f7

f8

f9

f10

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

0.250
0.040
0.051
0.035
0.024
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.020
0.032
0.123
0.130
0.127
0.119

Table 11
Global scores and ranking of materials in design scenario 2 using ANP and with equal
criteria weights (note that this scenario is not possible to solve with AHP).

ANP

Score
Rank

Nylon 12

Nylon 12 ber reinforced

Nylon 66

Delrin

A1

A2

A3

A4

0.123
3

0.130
1

0.126
2

0.119
4

in the given ANP structure, one for criteria and one for alternatives,
and thus the summation of nal scores for each cluster in the
supermatrix is 0.5). From the results in Table 5, we can notice that
the AHP and ANP solutions have become identical under Scenario
1. In other words, the problem denitions of Figs. 4 and 5 are

equivalent, providing that in the reverse feedback questions in


ANP (Fig. 5), the same relative weights of criteria are used as in
AHP (Fig. 4). For further clarity, the AHP solution of the problem
was repeated but this time using the supermatrix (ANP) format.
Results are included in Tables 6 and 7, indicating that the nal
scores with respect to the goal node are identical to the values obtained in Table 5. Finally, it is to note that for this scenario, the unweighted and weighted supermatrices after normalization have
become equal an outcome that was expected given the identical
weight of clusters.
3.2.2. Design scenario 2
Let us now assume the decision maker/designer, based on his/
her experience, has unequal preference over criteria and that their

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632


Table 12
ANP scores and ranking of materials in design scenario 2 using different sets of cluster
weights.
Cluster weighting sets
(mass, thermal,
mechanical)

Results

Nylon
12 (A1)

Nylon 12 ber
reinforced (A2)

Nylon
66 (A3)

Delrin
(A4)

(1, 0, 0)

Score
Rank
Score
Rank
Score
Rank
Score
Rank
Score
Rank

0.146
1
0.110
3
0.086
4
0.115
4
0.123
3

0.120
3
0.167
1
0.117
3
0.133
3
0.130
1

0.129
2
0.109
4
0.138
2
0.126
1
0.127
2

0.104
4
0.113
2
0.156
1
0.124
2
0.119
4

(0, 1, 0)
(0, 0, 1)
(1/3, 1/3, 1/3)
(0.5, 0.25, 0.25)

relative importance can change from one material to another. Practically, this can be due to the fact that for the decision maker, some
material properties are more important than others. In the given
example, the designer suggests that the mass reduction is of primary importance, while the mechanical and thermal performances
are secondary. For convenience, criteria performances are grouped
into three clusters as shown in Fig. 6.
Using a direct weight assignment method [17], the initial designers (subjective) weights with the respect to the decision clusters are assumed to be:
 Mass criteria cluster (fi, i = 1) ? subjective (DM) weight: 0.50
 Thermal criteria cluster (fi, i = 2, 3, 4) ? subjective (DM) weight:
0.25 (i.e., each 0.25/3)
 Mechanical criteria cluster (fi, i = 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) ? subjective
(DM) weight: 0.25 (i.e., each 0.25/6)
Remark: There are several weighting methods in the literature
that can be used in MADM problems [17]. As addressed earlier,
two main categories of these weightings methods are subjective
methods and objective methods. In the subjective methods, the
DM has a direct role in determining the weights (such as the direct
weighting procedure, the digital logic/DL approach or its modied
version/MDL, and the revised Simos procedure). Example application of these methods in material selection can be found in earlier
works [3335]. In the objective weighting methods (such as the
mean method and entropy methods [17], standard deviation method, and the method of criteria importance through inter-criteria
correlation/CRITIC), the DM has no role and the weights are derived based on the material data. A more recent category includes
a mixed subjectiveobjective weighting that was developed in
[36]. In the current study, the direct weighting procedure was chosen as a basic illustrative method, assuming that the DM is experienced enough to dene the relative importance of the clusters
based on related design and material selection constraints. In aerospace applications, weight saving is of primary interest [28] (hence
a 50% relative importance was assigned for density). The thermal
performance of gears (under surface contact cycles during the service) and their mechanical performance under dynamic loads were
considered as secondary criteria (each given a 25% importance).
The latter assignment was due to the fact that secondary power
systems normally experience much lower temperature and
mechanical loads as compared to the primary power systems that
are used for propulsion.
Given an alternative material, also let us consider that the designer in the current scenario wishes to assign an additional
weighting scheme over the criteria values. There are different situations where this need may arise, one of which was discussed in
Section 2.2. Here, we assume that he/she would like to give more
emphasis to the criterion under which a given material performs

631

exceptionally well (e.g., for material A2 in Table 2, the coefcient


of thermal expansion is clearly the strongest point of this material).
To include this preference, for each alternative in Table 2 we rst
ranked its performance values within each cluster (mechanical,
thermal, density). Subsequently, more weight was given to the performance criteria that have higher ranks by using the rank reciprocals as weights [17]. For example, if we take A3 and evaluate its
performance values within the thermal cluster in Table 2 (i.e., f2,
f3, f4), we notice that f2 has the rst rank, f3 the second rank, and
f4 the third rank. Subsequently, in the reverse feedback question
of ANP, for f2 we use a weight of 1/1, for f3 a weight of 1/2, and
for f4 a weight of 1/3. We followed the same procedure for all alternatives within each cluster. The ensuing (unweighted) supermatirx
matrix is given in Table 8.
Next, the weighted supermatirx was found by applying the
cluster weights (cost 50%, mechanical 25%, and thermal 25%), as
seen in the upper right part of Table 9. Note that in this table the
sum of each column is unity. Finally, we nd the ANP limit matrix
by multiplying the weighted matrix by itself until it stabilizes. The
result is shown in Table 10, from which the material ranks are extracted in Table 11. The limit matrix in Table 10 comprises the global scores (aggregated weights) that are stabilized in every row
with respect to every column node. Material A2 has been chosen
as the best material, and also based on the global criteria scores,
the most important criterion has been found to be the density with
a nal weight of 25%, followed by the thermal conductivity 5.1%,
maximum operating temperature 4.0%, and the coefcient of thermal expansion 3.5%. The sum of scores of the entire ten criteria in
each column of the matrix is 0.5, and the sum of alternative scores
is also 0.5. The material A2 is chosen in this scenario since it is
superior, to a large extent, in its thermal performance while performing comparably under the density criterion to A1 and A3. Material A4 performs poorly with respect to f1 (density) which has had
the highest weight among the criteria. Finally, to evaluate the
robustness of the method against the criteria under which alternatives perform equally well (namely f8 in Table 2), we repeated the
ANP solution with an additional zero weight for this criterion. As
expected, identical results to those of the ANP solution in design
scenario 2 were found.
3.2.3. A discussion on the advantage of clustering in ANP: sensitivity
analysis
Presenting a decision-making problem in the form of performance clusters, as in Fig. 5, can be advantageous for large-scale
material selection problems. For designers it is often easier to
weigh clusters of material properties versus each other, rather than
comparing each and every pair of criteria. It can also facilitate evaluating the alternatives with respect to individual clusters (thermal,
mechanical, mass, etc.). More specically, designers can simply repeat the same model but setting the weight of a particular cluster
of interest to one and the others to zero. For instance, in the present example, in order to assess the alternatives with respect to
their thermal performance only, one can set the weight of thermal
cluster to one and the other weights to zero. In another situation,
weights of the clusters may be chosen to be equal. Results of these
attempts are summarized in Table 12 and compared to the unequal
weighting case of Section 3.2.2. The ber-reinforced material option (A2) has been ranked rst for the most number of times, and
was never ranked last.
4. Conclusions
In some practical material selection problems, next to comparing the selection criteria independently of a given list of candidate
materials (i.e., decision-making in a hierarchical manner), the

632

A.S. Milani et al. / Materials and Design 44 (2013) 622632

designers additional knowledge and expertise over interrelations


and/or reliability of specic properties of the materials or criteria
can be important. To address such design situations, this study
showed how the selection of material alternatives under different
criteria can be viewed as a network problem, as opposed to the
conventional AHP decision-making. The performed case study
using ANP and AHP clearly illustrated that the inner- or outerdependencies between the decision criteria and alternatives can
change the nal material solution. It was also noted that ANP offers
a greater degree of freedom by allowing the designer/decision-maker to model the selection problem under multifunctional performance requirements (thermal/mechanical/mass/etc.) using
clusters. The advantage of this feature is the possibility of performing a more straightforward weight assignment procedure and sensitivity analysis, especially for an inexperienced designer, or in
large scale problems, where the clusters can be assessed against
each other instead of comparing each pair of individual criteria elements. The examination of the proposed method for other material
selection problems may be worthwhile, especially when the number of criteria clusters is increased.
Acknowledgements
Mr. Diego Mandelbaum from the University of British Columbia
is acknowledged for his assistance in producing high quality
graphs. The rst and third authors would like to acknowledge
nancial support from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council (NSERC) of Canada as well as the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) research network.
Constructive discussions and feedback of Prof. T.L. Saaty from the
University of Pittsburgh on the implementation of the ANP method
in early stages of the work are also greatly acknowledged.
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