Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

MatE vs ChemE

  1. Jun 19, 2006 #1
    What is the difference between the two? Can a MatE work as a ChemE and vice versa?

    I'm really interested in designing materials, but not machines that manufacture the materials. Will I be limiting my opportunities if I pursue a MatE degree?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Materials science has a lot to do with understanding the structure/morphology/composition of a material whereas chemical engineering is more about making a material and understanding the processes in the making of the material.

    Some sites with information about Materials Science or Engineering -


    http://www.mse.cornell.edu/materials_science_graduate/cat_2.html [Broken]

    http://www.asu.edu/provost/smis/ceas/bse/msebse.html [Broken]

    Definition of Chemical Engineering


    There is a Wikipedia article on Materials Science, but apparently there are problems with the quality. Nevertheless here it is - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materials_science.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Jun 20, 2006 #3
    So the two are actually quite distinct fields? Damn... my university doesn't offer materials engineering. It does offer a new program called nanotechnology engineering. (BTW, I'm going to the University of Waterloo in Canada)
  5. Jun 21, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well, nanotechnology is supposedly the wave of the manufacturing future. There are a lot of futuristic ideas involved in nano. I would be interested in seeing what the course outline is like for that degree.

    As far as the two degrees go, you probably won't get much crossover between the two. They really are pretty distinct in what they do.
  6. Jun 21, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    There is some slight overlap. For example, Grain Boundary Engineering (GBE), which is somewhat like nanoengineering. The idea is to use the appropriate thermo-mechanical process to minimize the misfitting or mismatching of atoms on grain boundaries of polycrystalline metals/alloys. GBE would be perhaps considered metallurgical engineering rather than chemcial engineering, but GBE is concerned with the alloy composition which affects the morphology (microstructure) of grains. GBE has a profound effect on corrosion and mechanical performance.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  7. Jun 21, 2006 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Based on this, I would recommend that you choose Mat's Engg but since that's not an option (or is it?), the closest degree you can get would be in Nano Engg. This however, is a slightly narrow (less than a micron wide :biggrin: ) field, so I might think about that some.

    PS : I think Fred meant to say there's little overlap between Chem Engg and Mat's Engg.
  8. Jun 21, 2006 #7
    Since Fred brought up the curriculum thing, here's the program structure of the nanotechnology program.

    http://www.ucalendar.uwaterloo.ca/ENG/nano_eng.html [Broken]

    I applied for the program change (from chemical engineering), and I'm put on the waiting list. Wish me luck :)

    BTW thanks for the responses so far guys.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  9. Jun 21, 2006 #8
    Good luck plutonium, sounds like an interesting curriculum =). I'm specialising in Mechanical Engineering with Materials next year and I'm thinking about a postgraduate course in nano-materials or equivalent.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook