Materials science, the core subject studied in this department, is basically an interdisciplinary field involving the properties of matter and its applications to various areas of science and engineering. This science investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. Therefore, it involves elements of applied physics and chemistry. The most recent topic in this field is nanotechnology. Materials science plays an important role in forensic engineering and failure analysis. In addition, it also deals with fundamental properties and characteristics of materials.
Materials engineers develop ways of processing metals and converting them into useful products. Metallurgy, the science of metals, is a major component of materials science. Other materials covered in this field are ceramics and polymers or plastics. Metallurgical engineers, a subspecialty of materials engineers, work primarily in industrial areas, particularly in the iron and steel industries. Some work with other metals such as aluminum or copper. Metallurgical engineers are also employed in industries that make machinery and other products using metal such as automobiles, aircraft, and electrical equipment. Some work for government agencies or colleges and universities. Materials engineers use complex equipment, including scanning electron microscopes, X-ray machines, and spectrographs. They use the latest scientific and technological findings in their work.
Another sub specialization is the physical metallurgical engineers. They work to develop new alloys to meet various demands. Physical metallurgical engineers also develop production processes that include melting, casting, alloying, rolling, and welding. They design and supervise processes to produce structural steel, wire, or aluminum sheets. Sometimes they are involved in processes that use these metal goods in the manufacturing of other finished products.
In terms of education, to meet the requirements, materials engineering students should spend considerable amount of time in the laboratory to conduct experiments with materials. Basic and advanced subjects such as metal processing, characterization of materials, transport phenomena, phase transformation, material modeling and design, provide a strong basic for students of materials engineering. In the fourth year, students are required to complete a specific end-of-course project on metals, ceramics, polymers, or composites.
Material Engineering Department organizes several exhibitions and seminars related to the profession of materials engineers. The main objective of these events is to introduce the profession to the community. Some of the events are Materials Fair, an exhibition of companies in relation to materials science and engineering, SENAM, a national seminar in the field of science and engineering; and INSTRUCT (International Microstructure Competition and Exhibition), an activity that aims to share knowledge on microstructure. One latest innovative product of Material Engineering students is the composite made from natural materials (pineapple and palm fiber).The students won the third prize in the Tanoto Research Award.