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Materials Science and Engineering Overview - The Field - Preparation -
Day In The Life - Earnings - Employment - Industries - Development -
Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations

Materials engineers are involved in the development, processing, and testing of the materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and snow skis. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, semiconductors, and composites to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also are involved in selecting materials for new applications.

Materials engineers have developed the ability to create and then study materials at an atomic level, using advanced processes to replicate the characteristics of those materials and their components with computers. Most materials engineers specialize in a particular material. For example, metallurgical engineers specialize in metals such as steel, and ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products such as glassware or fiber-optic communication lines.

Everything we see and use is made of materials: cars, airplanes, computers, refrigerators, microwave ovens, TVs, dishes, silverware, athletic equipment of all types, DVDs, and biomedical devices such as replacement joints and limbs. All of these require materials specifically tailored for their application. Specific properties are required that result from carefully selecting the materials and from controlling the manufacturing processes used to convert the basic materials into the final engineered product. Exciting new product developments frequently are possible only through new materials and/or processing. Nanotechnology is a prime example.

New materials technologies developed through engineering and science will continue to make startling changes in our lives in the future, and people in materials science and engineering will continue to be key in these changes and advances.  These engineers deal with the science and technology of producing materials that have properties and shapes suitable for practical use.

Materials Science and Engineering Resources


Overview of materials science and engineering
The Field:
Materials; Processing; Structure; Properties; Performance
Pre-College; College Programs; Coursework; Concentrations; Graduate School; Study Abroad
Day in the Life:
Teams and Coworkers, Tasks, the Workplace
Employer Options, Salary Ranges, Types of Employers
Statistics, Industries, Employers
Sectors; Organizational Size; Stability
Professional Development:
Marketability; Registration; Networking; Continuing Ed
Career Path Forecast:
Predictions, Employers
Professional Organizations:
Resources, Networking, Support
Internet Resources:
ASM International
American Ceramic Society
Materials Research Society
Strange Matter
The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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