Materials and society

Materials and society

– Research Domain 5

Materials and Society_text

Metals are embedded in a wider system that incorporates both the economy and the society. In this research domain is also a special responsibility to identify opportunities and disseminate research aspects that can attribute to the understanding of the social value of metals and how they can support a sustainable development of the society.

Tools and instruments

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA – Product oriented) and Material Flow Analysis (MFA – Material oriented) are complementary tools used to quantify the national, regional, and global cycles of various metals, including the stocks of metals in service of humanity. The objective is to forecast future scrap availability and metals demand, and thus to estimate likely trends for primary and secondary materials production with optional extension to include energy and emissions in all stages of the supply chain.

Industry scenarios for e.g. greenhouse gas mitigation under different assumptions for changes of in-use stocks can then be developed provided sound Standards for Emission Measurements and Reporting exist. Extensions and combinations of MFA and LCA are needed to be able to paint a satisfactory picture of the connections between materials, the economy and the environment, including industrial innovation and symbiosis.


  • Develop tools to enhance the understanding of the current material cycles and their relationship with society and environment.
  • Develop scenarios for the future use of critical materials in order to identify opportunities for materials production industries to contribute most effectively to a sustainable development.
  • Establish an international platform that brings together key experts from universities, industry, and government institutions to develop a shared understanding of the key problems and solution approaches (dissemination of both popular and scientific information).


Students at RD5


Phd Candidate

Romain Billy. PhotoRomain Billy, RD5

Material Flow Analysis of Al

Aug 17 - Dec 22


RD5 Leader

RD5 Leader


Casper Van der Eijk. Photo

Casper Van der Eijk

Senior research scientist, SINTEF


Metal Production Research Domains