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Name: S
Status: Student
Age: 13
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: December 2004


Question:
What is a materials scientist?



Replies:
Material science is developing into a separate but multi-disciplinary occupation that encompasses engineering, physics, and chemistry. Usually a material scientist is a specialist in some fairly narrow discipline -- for example, fabrics, semiconductors, paints and coatings -- to mention just a few. The job of the material scientist is to design a material that has certain desired properties. What the properties are depends upon the area of specialization. So starting with some chemical substances the material scientist designs and fabricates a device or product that has certain performance properties, depending upon the application.

Vince Calder


A materials scientist looks at problems having to do with substances that are used to produce items that we tend to use in our daily lives. There are many fields of materials science. Among them include: plastics, ceramics, metals, wood, asphalt, cotton . . . you will notice that all of these substances are materials in that the starting substances used to make everyday products.

Greg (Robrto Gregorius)


A Materials Science is a relatively new area and hybrid of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering that studies and creates new materials. The general categories of materials are:

metals
ceramics
polymers
composites
semiconductors
biomaterials
nanotechnology and films

---Nathan A. Unterman


The human world is made up of engineered materials. We do not use wood, or rocks to build stuff much anymore, we use plastics, metals, composite materials etc. So a material scientist learns how to make such materials, and their properties. How strong is iron? How can it be made stronger by adding various other things to turn it into steel? Fancy materials are found in magnetic storage media, like your hard disk drive, or cassette tape. Fancy materials are found in the electronics that runs your computer, or TV set. The space shuttle has fancy material tiles underneath it to shield it from heat as it comes back to earth. A material scientist could tell you why the Titanic sank 100 years ago, because the steel in the ship became brittle in the cold ocean water, and then cracked like glass when the ship hit the ice berg. A fancy material being studied these days is material for high temperature superconductors, to carry electricity around with tiny little wires, essentially made out of a ceramic, like a tile is.

Material scientists are not too far from chemists, especially chemists that work with solids (rather than pouring liquids). Also not that far from physics. You can major in it in college.

Steve Ross



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