Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

by Vaclav Smil


$42.97 $45.00 Save 5% Current price is $42.97, Original price is $45. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 17?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil

How much further should the affluent world push its materialconsumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolutedecline in demand for materials?  These and many otherquestions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World:Materials and Dematerialization.

Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependenton unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficientproduction processes and the highest practical rates of recyclingmay not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that wouldbe high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generatedby continuing population growth and rising standards of living.This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potentialfor substantial dematerialization of modern economies. 

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerializationconsiders the principal materials used throughout history, fromwood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon,describing their extraction and production as well as theirdominant applications. The evolving productivities of materialextraction, processing, synthesis, finishing and distribution, andthe energy costs and environmental impact of rising materialconsumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with anoutlook for the future, discussing the prospects fordematerialization and potential constrains on materials.

This interdisciplinary text provides useful perspectives forreaders with backgrounds including resource economics,environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrialorganization, manufacturing and material science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119942535
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/16/2013
Pages: 242
Sales rank: 968,097
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

VACLAV SMIL, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba, Canada

Table of Contents

Preface: Why and How ix

1. What Gets Included 1

2. How We Got Here 7

2.1 Materials Used by Organisms 8

2.2 Materials in Prehistory 11

2.3 Ancient and Medieval Materials 15

2.4 Materials in the Early Modern Era 22

2.5 Creating Modern Material Civilization 27

2.6 Materials in the Twentieth Century 34

3. What Matters Most 45

3.1 Biomaterials 46

3.2 Construction Materials 52

3.3 Metals 57

3.4 Plastics 62

3.5 Industrial Gases 65

3.6 Fertilizers 70

3.7 Materials in Electronics 72

4. How the Materials Flow 77

4.1 Material Flow Accounts 79

4.2 America’s Material Flows 83

4.3 European Balances 87

4.4 Materials in China’s Modernization 90

4.5 Energy Cost of Materials 94

4.6 Life-Cycle Assessments 103

4.7 Recycling 111

5. Are We Dematerializing? 119

5.1 Apparent Dematerializations 120

5.2 Relative Dematerializations: Specific Weight Reductions122

5.3 Consequences of Dematerialization 129

5.4 Relative Dematerialization in Modern Economies 137

5.5 Declining Energy Intensities 143

5.6 Decarbonization and Desulfurization 150

6. Material Outlook 157

6.1 Natural Resources 158

6.2 Wasting Less 165

6.3 New Materials and Dematerialization 168

6.4 Chances of Fundamental Departures 173

Appendix A Units and Unit Multiples 181

Appendix B US Material Production, GDP and Population,1900–2005 183

Appendix C Global Population, Economic Product, and Productionof Food, Major Materials, and Fuels 1900–2010 185

Appendix D Global Energy Cost of Major Materials in 2010 187

Appendix E 189

References 191

Index 223

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews