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A material’s trajectory can be thought of as where did the material come from and where is it going. If we stop and ask this question of all of the materials we encounter we might find ourselves in a realm of understanding that the seemingly mundane material is not really so mundane. It is linked to a past and a future. Architects are comfortable participating in the material past, and yet material technologies continue to develop and change practices within architecture.

Plastics, the manipulation of their microstructure, their processing, relationship to environmental performance and participation in issues of sustainability, are not finalized in their development. They are in a continuous process of emerging.

Ashby’s graph predicts that the four dominant material groups will equalize by the year 2020. This is a significant prediction, especially in light of the fact that plastics participate as a single group and as the matrix material for advanced composites.

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