Engineers in this field are researching modern materials and appropriate materials, because without them, hardly any new technologies can be used today.
The study field at a glance
Shark skin, bio-ceramics, heat shields, stadium roof constructions or ultralight car bodies - these are all topics that the engineers of materials and materials science are dealing with. A goal in the development of materials is to improve functionality while reducing weight and volume - all with a resource-saving manufacturing process. Tailored functional materials and construction materials revolutionize lightweight construction, reduce energy consumption, are biocompatible, recyclable and respond intelligently to changing operating conditions.
Countless materials and materials are available for modern technology. The classical groups of materials include e.g. Metals, ceramics, glasses and polymers. Recent material developments come from the fields of composites, material mixtures, semiconductors, natural products (bionics) as well as the so-called "smart materials", which are e.g. independently adapt external influences (shape memory). Even ultramodern key technologies such as Nano (structure) technology are located in the field of materials science and materials engineering.
Degree courses are available in the fields of building materials engineering, material science, polymer science and materials science and technology. The study of materials science requires above all technical interest and an affinity to mathematical and scientific phenomena. The course deals with the engineering aspects of the development, production, processing and recycling of metallic and mineral materials.
Materials science is more science-oriented. Here, the interdisciplinary structure of functional materials (metals, polymers, glasses / ceramics, semiconductors, composites, plastics) and the resulting technical properties that allow the production of customized materials with new or improved properties are investigated.
Contents of the course
Technically, the difference between materials science and materials science or technology in the increased scientific orientation of the former compared to the deepening of the engineering subjects in the latter. Materials science is more oriented towards analytical methods and basic questions, materials engineering is more oriented towards applications and processes.
At the beginning of the study there is a broad basic education in mathematical, scientific and engineering subjects. These include in particular mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics, materials chemistry, crystallography, materials science, materials engineering, materials processing and analytical methods. Depending on the choice of course of study, the emphasis is different.
During the study, the knowledge of the theoretical, experimental and technological aspects of the individual materials and materials as well as their production and processing will be extended. This is done by means of in-depth modules, which are tailored very specifically to the individual study and professional interests and vary between the courses Materials Science or Engineering. Depending on the course of study, elective modules thus enable job-related profiling.
Admission criteria & study application
Depending on the university and previous education, pre-practical training may be necessary.
Possible careers after graduation
Materials engineers are used in industrial research and development, manufacturing, quality management, technical sales and public service (technical monitoring associations, Federal Institute for Materials Testing, etc.). Occupations are offered, currently depending on the material, in all industrial sectors. Examples of relevant industries are:
- Traffic Engineering, Automotive, Railway, Aerospace Engineering (e.g., Weight Reduction, Braking Systems, Turbines)
- Engineering (e.g., wear-resistant materials, high-strength materials)
- Chemical industry (e.g., catalysts, heat exchangers)
- Environmental technology (for example recycling, conservation of resources)
- Power engineering (e.g., solar cells, fuel cells)
- Microelectronics (e.g., semiconductors, sensors)
- Communications engineering (e.g., optical fibers, radio frequency substrates)
- Optical industry (e.g., tempered lenses, waveguides, digital image storage)
- Medical technology (e.g. implants, dentures)
- Historic preservation (for example, restoration)
- Examples of the processing industry are:
- Ore mining and metallurgy (ferrous and non-ferrous metals, blast furnace, steel and hot rolling mills)
- Foundry industry
- operations of surface finishing (for example, corrosion protection)
- steel and light metal construction
- Building materials industry (e.g. thermal insulation, solar control glass)
- Glass and ceramics industry
- Plastics industry.