Material properties database?

Does a site or program exist that can take a given set of properties (either technical and specific or just in laymans terms) about a hypothetical material, and give a list of actual materials matching them?

I always find myself thinking about what material I should use for a given part and as I only know of a few, all I can do is work with those and try to think up ways to make them work.

Like one would be how to make a diffuser for led lights to evenly disperse light only coming from a few sources, or a cantilever chair using some kind of rubber slats. I know what I want to do, but not how to do it properly. I have a few books that go over materials properties but you almost need to know the material first. :confused:

ah, you’ve answered your own question.

MatWeb can be a good resource to start with. It has more of an engineering basis but you can search using specific material properties.

There are programs that can suggest materials based on technical criteria - for example CES Selector

Or for more qualitative material selection, perhaps

Just found this

For me this is the best materials database that I have come across. It’s is so easy to use and browse, without being overwhelming.
Would def. recommend.

Here’s another for plastics:

similar to the others but you can also search by industry

I cannot vouch for this company as I have no personal experience with their services.

However, I have found that their material database is very user friendly. It is a good resource for clients who are not familiar with resin selection and are unsure how to make a selection based upon their projects needs.

There’s a lot of databases out there. Here’s a list of the major ones I’m aware of (in no particular order): ( is somewhat unique in having a cost estimation feature, and the Material Selector feature lets you filter materials by quantitative properties.

Inventables ( seems to have the largest collection of unusual materials.

Some of the well-known databases that I’ve seen mention in these forums, but haven’t made it to this particular thread are IDES ( - like MatWeb, but for plastics only), Materia ( - search by some less quantitative properties), Transmaterial ( - of Transmaterial books fame), and Ecolect ( - browsable and oriented towards “green” materials).

The Wood Explorer ( lets you browse wood species with pictures, which I haven’t seen anywhere else.

There’s also blogs out there that list material properties databases. Materialsnooze ( and Selecting Materials ( come to mind.

I can identify with the feeling of almost needing to know the material before being able to look for it. And after looking around on my own, I got the feeling that if I want something really useful, I’d have to make it myself – so I’ve been working on making one. My background is actually Mechanical Engineering, but I’ve been involved with a fairly broad spectrum of product design. If anybody in this thread feels like sounding off on the kinds of things they’d like to see a material properties database do, I’d appreciate that.