During the use phase of products, a series of obsolescing factors contribute to why a product is disposed of. Currently the visual state of a product is considered primarily in terms of aesthetic obsolescence which is synonymous with influential factors such as changes in fashion or personal preferences in style. The physical condition of a product is not commonly understood within the context of product replacement and the physical changes due to use are not understood fully. The research contributes to and provides original empirical research findings for the current literature on product lifetime extension, material semantics, the circular economy, emotionally durable design and material culture.
Through the four studies, discussion topics arose and major findings of the doctoral study were drawn out and seen to be interesting enough for further research and study. These discussions include the importance of including cosmetic obsolescence into the lexicon of product obsolescence and product lifetime extension literature, the differences in the perceptions of materials when they are within the context of a product or being assessed as samples, how differing product contexts affect user perceptions of wear and damage on materials and the potential inclusion of a material wear index that could inform the material selection process that goes further than the technical aspects outlined in current material selection tools and literature.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.