What is Materials science: Definition and 95 Discussions

The interdisciplinary field of materials science, also commonly termed materials science and engineering, covers the design and discovery of new materials, particularly solids. The intellectual origins of materials science stem from the Enlightenment, when researchers began to use analytical thinking from chemistry, physics, and engineering to understand ancient, phenomenological observations in metallurgy and mineralogy. Materials science still incorporates elements of physics, chemistry, and engineering. As such, the field was long considered by academic institutions as a sub-field of these related fields. Beginning in the 1940s, materials science began to be more widely recognized as a specific and distinct field of science and engineering, and major technical universities around the world created dedicated schools for its study.
Materials scientists emphasize understanding, how the history of a material (processing) influences its structure, and thus the material's properties and performance. The understanding of processing-structure-properties relationships is called the materials paradigm. This paradigm is used to advance understanding in a variety of research areas, including nanotechnology, biomaterials, and metallurgy.
Materials science is also an important part of forensic engineering and failure analysis – investigating materials, products, structures or components, which fail or do not function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property. Such investigations are key to understanding, for example, the causes of various aviation accidents and incidents.

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  1. G

    Engineering Bravais lattice from lattice points

    I am confused on how to use these translations to tell what type of unit cell I have. I know that this is not a face centered unit cell because you need 4 total atoms and I only have two. From what I understand, to apply a body centering translation you add or subtract it from the lattice point...
  2. A

    E-beam evaporation, Physical vapour deposition

    Hi all, Hope we have some electron beam evaporation specialists in the house. I'm working with an Telemark Electron Beam Source (Linear Multi-pocket and would like some help with the issues I am facing currently. I'm seeing blue light around both sides of the crucible when the e-beam is turned...
  3. KingoftheChaosEmpire

    "Rigid airship" using low density hydrogen (LDH) inflation

    I know now that making a full on vacuum airship is unfeasible for it's compressive properties. So why not just make a rigid airship that is evacuated enough that the hydrogen is no longer significantly dangerous to it's surroundings, using say 25-30% density of neutral hydrogen? What's the...
  4. P

    Engineering Materials Science and Nanoengineering

    Does it have any career opportunities outside of academia? Metallurgical engineering is easily applicable and you can find jobs with it anywhere. But about nanoengineering bachelor's degree, what kind of jobs can I find?
  5. E

    Other Looking for a Materials Science Textbook?

    Hi, I just wanted to know if anyone has any experience with a textbook that deals with topics like crystals+lattices+symmetries, diffraction, microstructure, mechanical behaviour of materials, etc.? Thanks.
  6. P

    A Acceptable Atmosphere for CZ/Float-zone Refining

    Both the cz (Czochralski Process), and Float-zone refining of silicon require an inert atmosphere, usually argon. How pure does the argon atmosphere have to be? How high of a vacuum has to be pulled before releasing argon into the tank?
  7. Lren Zvsm

    Slightly More Plausible Barriers Than Force Fields

    I am contemplating writing a science fiction story involving flexible barriers that can be erected in a very short time. Force fields are pervasive in science fiction, but from what little I've read, they're not very plausible. Is there a flexible material, or class of materials, that...
  8. P

    Silicon not heating with induction heater?

    I’m using an inductive heater to try to melt some 99.85% polycrystalline silicon, as would occur in the Czochralski process, but the silicon workpiece is not melting let alone even getting hot. The silicon workpiece is about the size of a playing dice. It becomes conductive at 200 F and becomes...
  9. A

    Engineering Have trouble finding work (PhD in Materials Science & Engineering)

    I am about to graduate with a doctorate in a Materials Science & Engineer degree. I have the following experience: - Mechanical testing such as indentation and bend testing - X-ray/neutron diffraction characterization (in/ex situ)...
  10. Joaco

    Studying Condensed Matter Physics Grade vs Materials Science?

    Hi, I'm an undergrad materials engineering student. I am thinking of studying all the way to a PhD as I'm interested on working in research. Right now I work with Semiconductors and I like the field a lot. However, considering what I'm studying, I want to know if it's a good Idea to look for a...
  11. C

    Programs Prerequisites for degree in materials science

    In the UK you would need good grades at A-levels (age 18) in maths, physics and chemistry to start a three year BSc or four year MEng in Materials science. Some universities offer an additional 1 year foundation course if you don't quite have the required grades or possibly a missing subject...
  12. D

    Calculating percent elongation and determining ductility?

    Homework Statement A specimen with an original length of 165 mm is subjected to a tensile load of 4500 N until it breaks. It’s final length is 202 mm. Calculate the specimen’s ductility in terms of percent elongation to break. Homework Equations ((Lf - Lo) / Lo) * 100 = %EL The Attempt at a...
  13. Quentin_alex

    Discontinuous yielding in a low alloy steel

    What could prevent the discontinuous yield (upper and lower) points during a tensile test on a low alloy steel A706 grade? Thanks.
  14. G

    Programs Materials Science (B.Sc.) vs Materials Engineering (B.Eng)

    Hello, Looking for some guidance for my son. He will be a senior in high school in the fall and will be applying to university programs in Ontario, Canada. He is leaning towards studying chemistry and/or physics. We (his parents) absolutely want him to follow his passions, but of course are...
  15. E

    Different metals and their compounds' reaction to Microwaves

    Does anyone know of any studies into exactly how much various metals reflect or absorb microwaves with relationship to the microwaves wavelength and ideally theyt compounds too?
  16. fluidistic

    I Ways to measure voltage?

    Consider a solid material such as a conductor. I would like to know if there are ways to determine the voltage at specific spots on the material, without plugging a metallic wire and connect it to a voltmeter. I know voltage is relative and I'm interested in checking voltage differences across...
  17. N

    Is it possible to do this without Poission's ratio?

    this is the problem as our professor gave it to us "A steel alloy bar (modulus of elasticity of 205 GPa) is 20mm in diameter and experiances an elastic deformation by applying a force along its axis (IE pulling it apart perpendicular to the circular cross section). Determine the...
  18. AD MCFC

    Engineering BS Physics to Materials Science Graduate Advice/Thoughts

    Hello All, I am currently a junior in physics and have set sights on Materials Science (Electronic Materials/Nanotechnology) for grad school. My school does not offer MS.Eng as a degree and so the only Materials Science course I can enroll in as the general "Introduction to Materials Science...
  19. J

    Courses Mechatronics vs Materials science, which course first?

    I have the choice of 6ECTS, and I will use it on either a Mechatronics course or a Materials Science course. My field is biomedical engineering, which course would you recommend, does either of the courses pre-requisites the other?
  20. hdp12

    Designing a Mechanism to Cut Aluminum Bar: Help Needed!

    Hi there So we have a group design project in my mechanical systems 2 class and it basically goes as follows: design a mechanism to cut a half inch aluminum bar in half using a standard hacksaw blade and 4 AA batteries. You have to use a motor w/ input > 5000 rpm for the 'main' component we...
  21. A

    Polyhedron tensile strength

    Hello All, First off great forum; lots of useful info on here. I was wondering if anyone had any experience or could refer me to a text regarding the tensile strength of polyhedrons? I am experimenting using various types for a super strong mechanism to aide manufacturers during metal...
  22. V

    Engineering Materials Science Introduction Book?

    Specifically, for a high schooler with only basic physics and chemistry knowledge who is interested in the field
  23. Naytile

    Programs Materials PhD help: Low GRE score spooks physics major

    Hi. So, I took the general GRE the other day and did crappy on the Quant. This worries me. I'm applying to Materials Engineering PhD programs soon. I'd like to get some opinions of how deep of a ditch I've dug for grad school, or how much this retracts from the rest of my credentials. Do I stand...
  24. Metals

    Difference between Young's Modulus and spring constant?

    I have read that Young's Modulus, like spring constant, is a measure of stiffness (how hard it is to deform a material). Though apparently, Young's Modulus is a way of doing so that applies only to the material and not its shape, where a spring constant value depends on the dimensions of the...
  25. B

    I Lab experiment: hysteresis disappears, reappears and then disappears again. How?

    Hi people, In my college laboratory we were assigned an experiment to measure the hysteresis curves of a certain ferromagnetic material at different temperatures. Sounds simple, right? Well, the block of Monel 400 we chose did something weird. We cooled it down to about -200°C and set about to...
  26. Crush1986

    Programs Advice for Successful REU in Materials Science

    Hello again PF! I was accepted to an REU for this summer. I was just hoping to get some nuggets of good advice for what to do to be successful. Only thing I keep telling myself is to work HARD so I can make a good impression and hopefully contribute to a successful project. Any good advice...
  27. M

    Engineering Materials Engineering vs Biomaterials Engineering

    Hello everyone, I am currently enrolled in a Materials Engineering course, but I recently found out that I might be allowed to switch to Biomaterials Engineering, which sounds a bit more appealing to me, since, at the moment, I am interested in a career in the pharmaceutical sector. However...
  28. hdp12

    Chemistry Determine Weight Percent given molecular weight....

    Homework Statement So for my homework assignment in 'Materials Science and Engineering', We were given the following problem. 1. Li and Ra both are both BCC metals. For this problem assume they form a complete solid solution (even though the very large difference in their atomic size tell us...
  29. A

    Schools Research in materials science for physics grad school

    I am an undergrad physics major at a US university. I plan on attending grad school for condensed matter physics, so I've been looking for research opportunities here. There is limited condensed matter research, however, and most of it is done through the materials science/engineering...
  30. Z

    Materials Science or Applied Physics

    Which MSc course below do you think would be better to have upon graduation, in terms of being able to obtain employment in some area of science or research, or perhaps engineering? Both are at the same university. MSc Materials Science. This is an online course (no lectures), though a...
  31. neosoul

    Integrating Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science

    Hi PF Family, I'm a rising junior majoring in physics. I plan to enroll and be accepted into graduate school(s) such as UIUC, Princeton, and MIT. I know that requires much work and hard work. However, my problem is in choosing the right program. I want to be able to integrate CMP and Materials...
  32. F

    Interstitial position probability?

    Homework Statement A silicon crystal is being doped with Ni atoms. The formation energies for substitutional and interstitial Ni atoms are Es= 0.74 eV and Ei=0.16 eV, respectively. At 320 centigrade, what is the probability for a Ni atom to be placed in an interstitial configurations...
  33. Wyn

    Engineering Intro to the Physics and Chemistry of Materials by Naumann

    This is the book that is required for my materials science II class but I can't find this book, I can't even find the contents so I can find a similar book. Do you know any?
  34. S

    Engineering MS or PhD in Materials Science and Engineering

    Hello, I am currently a chemistry student and will be graduating this Spring. I have applied to a couple of schools and have been accepted to one school so far for a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. I am worried that a PhD is overkill. Long term I want to work in industry. I would like...
  35. L

    Engineering MEng vs. MS in Materials Science and Engineering

    I live in the United States, have a BA in physics, am working for a materials company, and am about to apply to grad school. Can anyone weigh in as to which degree, a master of engineering or a materials science and engineering MS, is more marketable? Both subjects interest me equally. I am...
  36. F

    Failure Analysis Reports: Find Quality Pictures & Data

    Hello. My professor has asked the class to find a few reports of failure analysis. We need reports that contains high quality pictures of the failed component and the data of the failed component. Also we can not have a failure report with amorphous materials(glass, plastics ect) Links or...
  37. F

    Engineering Difference Between Solid State Physicist and Materials Engineer

    I would like to know what is the difference between a solid state physicist and a materials engineer. I mean, do they end up doing the same kind of job or research? If they both have the same purpose, how can they do it having different backgrounds? Which preparation is better for the purpose?
  38. Ganesh Ujwal

    Why don't metals bond when touched together?

    It is my understanding that metals are a crystal lattice of ions, held together by delocalized electrons, which move freely through the lattice (and conduct electricity, heat, etc.). If two pieces of the same metal are touched together, why don't they bond? It seems to me the delocalized...
  39. A

    Mysterious boiling phenomenon during experiment

    Greetings, I am a student in my third year of engineering (materials science) and I was performing a lab experiment in which I was asked to calculate the heat capacity of metals using thermodynamic relationships. The experiment was done by placing a metal sample into a foam container filled...
  40. E

    Materials Intensive Industries/Companies?

    Long post, read the TL;DR if you please! Hi everybody, first post here. Probably should have asked this much earlier, but I didn't find this site till just a few minutes ago. I'm a senior studying materials science and engineering, I'm planning to stay another year for a master's degree in...
  41. M

    MSc Materials Science or MSc Advanced Composites & Polymers

    Would anyone here have an opinion on whether either of these MSc courses is better to have when looking for employment later? I'll already have a BSc Physics. 1) MSc Materials Science (at a much better ranked university than below, and includes some programming) 2) MSc Advanced Composites &...
  42. D

    Materials Science vs Physics.

    I am a senior in high school and have a problem.. I want to pursue a career in nanotechnology, therefore I applied for an undergraduate place in MSE. The problem is that I've recently started reading about quantum physics and the structure of the physics (with theoretical physics) course and I...
  43. J

    Online Materials Science Resources

    Hello, I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of some quality materials science resources on the web? I am currently in an intro to materials science and engineering class and have been fascinated by the subject this semester. I was just wondering if there are any "go to"...
  44. G

    PhD in Physics at UCI vs Materials Science and Engineering UCR

    I have a 2 year TA offer at UC Irvine for physics (~$18k) where I would focus on Condensed Matter experiment or the chemicals and materials physics program(this program is easier and offers a 10 week summer research program before grad school begins). Degree time is usually 6-7 years. The...
  45. A

    Physics in materials science

    Hello. I would like to hear of somebody with experience in the area of materials science (theoretical/computational or experimental) the answer to the following question: What kind of Physics knowledge one must have to work in this area. I mean, how much of the basic Physics stuff you must know...
  46. M

    Materials Science Experiments to find unknown material

    Homework Statement I have a project for my Materials Science and Engineering class and we have were given 4 unknown materials and we have to determine which kind of materials they are. We have to come up with our own experiments. As of now, I've done the Rockwell hardness test, electrical...
  47. D

    Is Materials Science a good PhD route to pursue?

    Hello everyone, I'm an undergraduate senior majoring in physics and math, with plans to go to grad school next year. I have two questions for you all: 1) for someone interested in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and physics, is materials science a good PhD to pursue? 2) If so, are there any...
  48. A

    Materials Science and Engineering

    Hi all, I am interested in pursuing a degree in materials engineering in order to become a materials scientist/engineer. However, I am a bit confused with the wording of some of the degrees various colleges are offering. Is there a difference between a degree in Materials Engineering and a...
  49. M

    Schools Materials Science grad school questions

    I am a rising junior physics major and math minor at a small liberal arts school. I'm interested in possibly pursuing materials science for grad school (hoping to complete a PhD). However, I haven't yet taken intro-level chemistry. Originally I was planning to complete the intro sequence...