The problem of materials selection in terms of their mechanical properties during the design of new products is a key issue of design. The complexity of this process is mainly due to a multitude of variants in the previously produced materials and the possibility of their further processing improving the properties. In everyday practice, the problem is solved basing on expert or designer knowledge. The paper is the proposition of a solution using computer-aided analysis of material experimental data, which may be acquired from external data sources. In both cases, taking into account the rapid growth of data, additional tools become increasingly important, mainly those which offer support for adding, viewing, and simple comparison of different experiments. In this paper, the use of formal knowledge representation in the form of an ontology is proposed as a bridge between physical repositories of data in the form of files and user queries, which are usually formulated in natural language. The number and the sophisticated internal structure of attributes or parameters that could be the criteria of the search for the user are an important issue in the traditional data search tools. Ontology, as a formal representation of knowledge, enables taking into account the known relationships between concepts in the field of cast iron, materials used and processing techniques. This allows the user to receive support by searching the results of experiments that relate to a specific material or processing treatment. Automatic presentation of the results which relate to similar materials or similar processing treatments is also possible, which should make the conducted analysis of the selection of materials or processing treatments more comprehensive by including a wider range of possible solutions.
The aim of this study is to design and implement a computer system, which will allow the semantic cataloging and data retrieval in the field of cast iron processing. The intention is to let the system architecture allow for consideration of data on various processing techniques based on the information available or searched by a potential user. This is achieved by separating the system code from the knowledge of the processing operations or from the chemical composition of the material being processed. This is made possible by the creation and subsequent use of formal knowledge representation in the form of ontology. So, any use of the system is associated with the use of ontologies, either as an aid for the cataloging of new data, or as an indication of restrictions imposed on the data which draw user attention. The use of formal knowledge representation also allows consideration of semantic meaning, a consequence of which may be, for example, returning all elements in subclasses of the searched process class or material grade.