What do Materials Engineers do?

Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those engineers working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials. Includes metallurgists and metallurgical engineers, ceramic engineers, and welding engineers.

  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.

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Necessary Skills

  • Science
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Learning
  • Writing
  • Critical Thinking
  • Operations Analysis
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics

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