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What do materials engineers do? examples

  1. Mar 8, 2012 #1
    I'm currently in university and am taking supplemental math classes for an engineering major. I am currently undecided which engineering path to chose to major in as of yet. Materials engineering caught my eye and I just want to know some examples to work that materials engineers do. I have read articles about the general idea, but I would like to know specific examples if that is available. Thanks so much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2012 #2
    i think it heavily depends on what field of materials science you're in. electronics for example require vastly different skills than alloys.

    alot of materials jobs also require advanced degrees (MS/PHD) and hire not only materials science majors, but related majors like physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, etc.
  4. Mar 11, 2012 #3
    I am part of a team of 2 Phd material scientists/engineers, I am just a tech, but a dam good one! What we are developing is a thermal printhead based on thin film technology. There is a lot of experimentation going on right now using a sputtering machine to come up with thin film resistors made of silicon and tungsten Carbide, it turns out to be difficult to make resistors for heat purposes in the 1000 ohm range and we are coming up with processes that will do that.

    Normally, thin film resistors made of some metal or other gives very low resistance which is fine for wires and such, power distribution, but when you want an electrical heater, such as we make, 1000 of them in a bar about 3 inches long, you have to have much higher resistance, 1000 ohms or more. They heat up with fast pulses of 24 volts dc.

    There are a lot of variables to study, there are papers and patents written but our work will be unique and will result in patents and papers written.

    BTW, thermal printheads are the guts of the printers used in grocery stores, gas stations, fast food outlets and the like, there are literally millions of them in use and the heads only last a year or two at best because of the constant scrubbing of the thermal paper wearing out the little bumps that makes up the microscopic heaters that makes the little black dots on the paper.

    There is also a thermal paper print technology that gives color. The heater dots have to respond with a pulse of heat in about one millisecond or less and the heat generated has to work its way through various electrical, insulator and protective layers and still be microscopic sized when it gets to the paper.

    I think it's pretty amazing the printheads can make those microscopic sized dots of heat that heats up and dies down in temperature in less than a millisecond.
  5. Mar 12, 2012 #4


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    I have a friend who is a materials engineer and worked on metal joining techniques (brazing, welding, etc.).
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