Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Correia, Monica Cruz de Gusmao

First Committee Member

Kelchen, Craig J

Second Committee Member

Freyer, John D

Third Committee Member

Lima, Vinicius R


Plastic is widely used to shape many of the daily goods produced and consumed today. Compared to wood and metal, this versatile material was recently introduced to society. The technical advances that began in the mid 1850's led to the invention of the first cellulose plastic polymers - a naturally occurring or synthetic compound consisting of large molecules made up of a linked series of repeated simple monomer (One Look on line Dictionary, 2009) - to be used at an industrial level. Inaugurating a period in which objects could have the strength of metal or wood, while also being lighter, colorful and cheaper to be manufactured. Plastics are a material that has the ability to be easily shaped (Lefteri, 2008). For me, plastic is ideal to work with, not only because its eclectic applications in product design and manufacture, but also due to its ordinary use in our globalized society.

My master's research is to design functional objects using different types of plastics. My goal is to experiment with this material and understand the industrial production process behind the manufacture of the daily functional objects that surround us. Each plastic polymer has its proper usage and constraints. These characteristics are taken into account in my design process. Conceptually I allow myself to have freedom in exploring the object's form by respecting the material`s limitations as well as the techniques I have available to design and make my pieces. In conjunction with this creative research, I am using Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing through Computer Numerical Control and Rapid Prototyping technologies to design and produce the pieces.

Furthermore, my intention is to have a deep understanding of the uses, production, discard and, recycling procedures of plastics goods. I am interested in knowing more about biodegradable, compostable and recyclable polymers in order to enjoy this great material that is evolving rapidly (Lefteri, 2008) in the contemporary society without causing environmental damage and preserve good conditions to future habitants of the Planet.


Computer Numerical Control, Design Objects, Plastic, Rapid Prototyping, Technology, Utilitarian


xi, 48 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-48).


Copyright 2010 Maria Elisa Mandarim de Lacerda

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