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Materials Engineer

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What They Do

Materials Engineers Career Video

About This Career

Evaluates materials and develops machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develops 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.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Engineering and Technology pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Analyzes product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Designs and directs the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Monitors material performance, and evaluates its deterioration.
  • Conducts or supervises tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Evaluates technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Modifies properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Guides technical staff in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Determines appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Reviews new product plans, and makes recommendations for material selection, based on design objectives such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Supervises the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Materials Development Engineer
  • Materials Research Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Research Engineer — Independently evaluates, selects and applies standardized scientific or engineering procedures and techniques to area of specialization.
  • Test Engineer
  • Extrusion Engineer


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