Materials Science and Engineering in 250 words!

materials science and engineering

Cleanroom facility. (Image from:  NTNU NanoLab via Flickr Creative Commons )

Nowadays demands for materials with particular properties require scholars to tune materials’ properties with high degree of precision. This idea leads to formation of a distinct field of science known as Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), in which materials are studied from macro to atomic scales. The output of such investigations enables materials scientists/engineers to adjust the properties of materials by changing their structures. In other words MSE can be defined as the science of adjusting materials’ properties by manipulating their structures to suit with the requirements of real-world applications. The question then arises, “Does MSE encompass all different types of materials?”. The answer is no. MSE focuses mainly on five categories of materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and semiconductors. Furthermore as MSE is a highly interdisciplinary field, a materials scientist should have a wide knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering, electronics, and mathematics. There are many different methods to study materials structure and their properties such as optical, magnetic, mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. The list of the mostly used techniques in MSE is as follow:

  • Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM)
  • X-ray Diffraction (XRD)
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
  • X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)

  • Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect microscope (MOKE)
  • Ultraviolet–Visible Spectroscopy (UV-vis)
  • Energy-Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX)
  • Mechanical testing
  • Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA)

In future posts, we aim to elaborate different aspects of MSE, emerging areas in materials research, as well as MSE career opportunities.

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Categories: Articles, Materials Science and Engineering

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