Materials engineering is a ground-breaking field of research and a thriving job market for aspiring engineers.
When you understand what materials do and why they do it, you are on your way to inventing new materials and improving existing ones. Whether it is a lighter and stronger jet engine, a biodegradable tissue scaffold to grow organs from stem cells or new types of solar cells and batteries - the structure, properties and processing of materials are crucial to the final product.
What is materials engineering?
Materials engineering is all about making new materials and improving existing ones. It is about making things stronger, lighter and more functional, sustainable and cost-effective.
It is a truly interdisciplinary that involves physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry.
What do materials engineers do?
Materials engineers cover everything from the breathtakingly big - such as the study of corroding bridges - to the microscopic, like the atom. They change the properties or behaviours of materials to make them more useful and include them in new applications.
Their work covers everything from the thermal protection of the space shuttle and high-tech artificial hip and cochlear implants to nanoparticles that seek and destroy cancer. It also covers advanced battery systems for green electric cars, artificial hearts and laptop computers.
Careers in materials science engineering
Demand for materials engineers continues to outstrip supply. Opportunities exist across a range of industries including aerospace, biomedical, mining, manufacturing, processing and recycling.
Materials engineers typically become:
- Plastics engineers
- Adhesive scientists
- Process and quality control engineers
- Corrosion or fracture engineers.