Historically the ability to manipulate, understand and creatively use materials is an important measure of the sophistication of a civilization. So, important is materials to the human civilization that entire era have been named for their most important materials: the Stone Age, the Ice Age and the Bronze Age. Our lives are enhanced and restricted by our relationship and ability to use materials effectively. This is why Material Science is a thriving field.
Materials are seriously everywhere. Everything we touch is literally a material! Whether it is the ultra-hard, translucent, BPA-free water bottle or next generation of 10-nm transistors- that’s in the realm of Material Science. Some of the greatest creations of the 21st century like the flagship Model 3 compact sedan from Tesla Motors Tesla, iPhone 6s from Apple and Burj Khalifa of Emaar Properties. These could only see the light of the day because world valued Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science. And this defines the king size prospects the stream provides. Model 3 compact sedan is made combining steel and aluminium and iPhone 6s from Apple is made with 7000 series Aluminium. Burj Khalifa would not have been such stunning without the glass, steel, aluminium and reinforced concrete used. Additionally, advanced IT sector could only be realised with the discovery of advance materials such as giant magneto-resistance materials and spintronic materials. Great deal of research has gone into these creations.
Material Science: Crux of the branch
It is an inter-disciplinary subject. Students interested in materials engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and in computer programming. It explores the structure and design of any material and how it can be optimally utilised. The field also focuses on creation of new materials on the basis of requirements and its production process. The materials created in this field range from nanotechnology to advanced polymers. Material Science is a broad field of study, and opportunities are plenty for students to contribute using these exciting new technologies.
An ideal university
Various universities offer bachelors, masters and specialised degrees. An ideal university offers theoretical knowledge with relevant industry exposure. It helps the students to understand the nitty-gritty details of the desired job. Full-time internships during summer break, part-time internship during the course can help one get on-the-job training. Pupils can even earn a considerable amount of money while they are studying.
Research in Material Science is thriving at the moment. Currently, researchers are looking for smart materials with unique physical and chemical properties. Advanced materials for bio and chemical sensors, energy storage and conversion, and drug delivery are researched. Some of the emerging technologies in the field of material sciences are
These can be potentially applied in improving insulation, nuclear power, construction of sky scrapers and sculptures, optical data communications, respectively.
Say in policies
Swachh Bharat abhiyan, an initiative by the govt. of India, to keep the country clean has received positive response from the public. It speaks more on keeping cleanliness around and less on what can be done with the waste collected. It’s more of collecting waste here and dumping there plan. It is a metallurgist who can come to rescue to the nation. With the help of pyrometallugy, the quantity of waste can be reduced. Recycling can be promoted.
Make in India, an initiative launched by govt. of India the to encourage multi-national and national companies to manufacture their products in India. Steel and cement production define the growth of any nation. And, advent of newer steel grades replacing the older steels, has made the metallurgist’s or material scientist’s role even more important.
The job opportunities in this area are very promising in a competitive global market. Material scientists are employed by manufacturers, refiners as well as goods and service providers. Various industries like metallurgy, transport, construction, aviation, garment, energy, biomedical require material scientists. Knowledge of material sciences is also important for project management, technical sales and marketing, consultancy, administration etc. Forensic engineering, failure analysis, nano materials also rely on the study of this subject. A Material Science/technology degree course opens doors to jobs in a range of industries, and provides knowledge of manufacturing, processing and the fabrication of materials. Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are examples of types of materials engineers:
Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.
Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.
Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.
Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.
Semiconductor processing engineers apply Material Science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.
Some additional prospects for materials engineers include
Materials Production Research
An engineer working in materials production research aims to create new materials. These professionals research and test materials. Materials scientists who perform this research generally work in laboratories funded by the government or private companies. This work involves a great deal of trial and error, so success in materials production research requires perseverance, dedication, and patience.
When a company is working on a new experiment, a materials scientist or a materials engineer may be consulted. Materials consultants are typically experts in one area of materials and are familiar with past experiments and theories relating to the hiring firm’s proposed project.Materials consultant offers guidance, suggestions, feedback, and anything else that may help a project succeed.
Their job is to develop methods and procedures that will improve and streamline manufacturing processes. This often involves designing new machines and production methods, so a background in Material Science is especially useful for innovative approaches to manufacturing.
Many patent attorneys find an educational background in Material Science and engineering helpful. Patent attorneys assist in securing the patent rights to any materials, theories, methods, or ideas a scientist or engineering firm might develop.
Duties of Materials Engineers
Materials engineers typically do the following:
- Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and managers as necessary
- Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and perform other managerial tasks
- Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
- Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
- Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
- Determine causes of product failure and develop ways of overcoming such failure
- Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products
Materials engineers create and study materials at macro, micro and atomic level. They use computers to replicate the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
Strata where metallurgical engineering and material is a must are
Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. In addition, they test prototypes to make sure that they function according to design.
Architectural and Engineering Managers
Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.
Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare.
Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and by-products treatment, and direct facility operations.
Chemists and Material Scientists
Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels. They also study the interaction between substances. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment. Electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment are some of them. They design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems—from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs).
Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
Physicists and Astronomers
Physicists and astronomers study the ways in which various forms of matter and energy interact. Theoretical physicists and astronomers may study the nature of time or the origin of the universe. Some physicists design and perform experiments with sophisticated equipment such as particle accelerators, electron microscopes, and lasers.
Sales engineers sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. They must have good knowledge of the products’ parts and functions. They must understand the scientific processes that make these products work.
Materials graduates wishing to remain within material science may take additional training in appropriate software, such as Finite Element Analysis modelling or industry-relevant standards.
Skills for your CV
Studying for a Material Science/technology degree provides you with a strong set of transferable skills valued by employers. These include:
- analytical and problem-solving skills;
- a high standard of numeracy;
- IT competency and computer-modelling experience;
- research and report-writing skills;
- creative and independent thinking;
- time management, planning and organisational skills;
- Commercial awareness and business skills
Metallurgical engineering and material science provides a vast plethora of scopes. Their no study which can be successfully materialized without this study. Hence, its a mother branch of all studies.
You can also get an in-depth insight of mechanical engineering here.