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Innovative Materials Collection

The VRC Innovative Materials Library is a collection of over 700 material samples that serves academics, designers, and fine artists. The collection is accessible in person or remotely in our online database which includes images and material descriptions.  Patrons are encouraged to interact with the materials to discover their properties and further their own research and exploration. The collection is open for individual research or for class visits. 


Transmaterial - A blog devoted to "materials that redefine our physical environment."

Kirigami Art applied to electronics - UM Engineering professors use Japanese art of paper cutting to allow electronics to be rolled up, folded, stretched and otherwise formed for all sorts of new applications.

Matmatch - The platform has more than 54 000 materials, that you can compare by properties and find the material supplier of it around the world. Great tool, easy to use and free!

Museum of Design in Plastics
This fascinating collection of objects illustrates the role of plastics in design and culture. It provides an in-depth history of the use of synthetic plastics since their invention in the middle of the 19th century up to the present day. The variety of objects includes items ranging from moulded furniture, telephones, and glasses to children's toys and cruet sets. The searchable catalog displays predominantly 20th and 21st century mass-produced design and popular culture, and the items support academic study

Materials Donation

The Visual Resource Center (VRC) welcomes material samples. Please contact the Visual Resources Specialist at 909-357 5810 or via email at to discuss the materials you would like to donate. 

To request the purchase of materials or to suggest ideas, please write to