Materials Engineering

Materials and Metallurgical Engineering is the study of how materials are constructed, both at the molecular scale and at the production scale. Some of it is theoretical, chemistry and physics, and some of it is optimization of production at the industrial scale.

In the theoretical science end, your building blocks are crystal structures, microscopy, chemical reactions, and solid-state phase transformations.

In the industrial side, your building blocks are heat treatments, alloying elements, and manufacturing processes.

Do you want to know how to make a more efficient turbine? Stronger alloys? A new adhesive? Materials Engineers work on these problems.

I first became interested in this field as an undergraduate. Actually, that is when I first learned that there was such a thing. I first became interested as a small child when I learned that some toy cars were stronger than others, even though they were both made of “metal.” I tried to find ways to quantify the strength of different cars, but did not have the resources or vocabulary to characterize them.

Anyway, as an undergraduate electrical engineer, I enrolled in a semiconductor manufacturing course. That is where I first learned of Materials Engineering.

Over the years, I have acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech (2005) and a Master’s degree in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering from New Mexico Tech (2010).

If you are interested in this, I also recommend the following professional societies:

Material Advantage
The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS)
The American Ceramics Society
The American Foundry Society (AFS)