Materials science (Callister & Rethwich 2007) consists of applying the principles of physics, chemistry, and mathematics for understanding concepts of materials such as structures, properties, behavior etc. Material scientists and engineers work to innovate new materials to meet the ever-changing engineering requirements of the world. Material science is one of the oldest branches of engineering and sciences which actually has genesis from the time people started thinking in the scientific framework about metallurgy, material and mineralogical observations (Carter & Norton, 2007).
At present, material scientists play a vital role in contributing to the developments in such research areas as nano-technology, biomaterials, forensics etc. Key developments in the materials used in biological engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering etc. are due to the successful research done in materials science in recent years.
Material science graduates can find careers in a number of domains ranging from manufacturing, processing, recycling, designing etc. Solar energy, biomedical implantations (Ratner & Hoffman,2004), ophthalmic devices, tissue engineering, the drug industry, information and communication systems, and optical and opto-electronic engineering are some of the latest avenues offering good scope for professional development for material scientists and engineers.
In most of the United States’ universities, graduate level material science courses consist of the study of atomic structure, bonding of solids, imperfections in crystal structures, mechanical properties of metals, diffusion, dislocations, strengthening mechanisms, phase diagrams, material processing, ceramics, composites, corrosion etc. Such courses also include the study of material properties such as electrical, magnetic, creep, thermal resistance etc. Some universities include the study of economic considerations as well as environmental and social implications of the material applications in engineering as optional study courses in the material science graduation syllabus.
Developments in material science and engineering include innovation of materials of atomic thickness, high strength composite materials, low cost polymers (Shackelford & Alexander, 2000), and carbon nano tubes (Ruoff & Lorents 1995) etc.
Material science offers a great many opportunities, and anyone with enthusiasm, commitment, and knowledge can forge a successful career in the discipline.
Callister, W. D., & Rethwisch, D. G., 2007, Materials science and engineering: an introduction (Vol. 7, pp. 665-715). New York: Wiley.
Carter, C. B., & Norton, M. G 2007, Ceramic materials: science and engineering. Springer Science & Business Media.
Ratner, B. D., Hoffman, A. S., Schoen, F. J., & Lemons, J. E. 2004, Biomaterials science: an introduction to materials in medicine. Academic press.
Ruoff, R. S., & Lorents, D. C 1995, Mechanical and thermal properties of carbon nanotubes. Carbon, 33(7), 925-930.
Shackelford, J. F., & Alexander, W. (Eds.) 2000, CRC materials science and engineering handbook. CRC press.
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