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Materials Science and Engineering

What Are Materials?

Substances out of which all things are made.
Materials can be elements, compounds and mixtures.
From 118 elements there will be innumerable compounds and even more mixtures.
Materials are probably more deep-seated in our culture than most of us realize all segments of life has been influenced by materials: transportation, housing, clothing, communication, recreation
and food production
Materials Drive our Society!
Development and advancement of societies have been intimately tied to the members ability to produce and manipulate
materials to fill their needs.
Since the start of civilization, man has been using materials along with energy in perfecting his standard of living.
The material of choice of a given era is often its defining point.
Stone Age - man used stone in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.
With time, man discovered techniques for producing materials that had properties superior to those of the natural ones;
these new materials included pottery and various metals.
Bronze Age - the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some
implements and weapons.
Iron Age - marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of this age is characterized by the widespread
use of iron or steel.
A supporting discovery properties of materials could be altered by heat treatment or by addition of other substances
Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore,
Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron ore;
Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material.
From this point, material utilization was totally a selection process, deciding from a given, rather limited set of
materials the one that was best suited for an application by virtue of its characteristics.
It was in relatively recent times that scientists came to understand the relationships between the structural elements of
materials and their properties.
Josiah Williard Gibbs: thermodynamic properties (atomic) are related to physical properties of materials led to a better
understanding of how materials behave like they do, and why they differ in properties.
This was only possible with the atomistic understanding allowed by quantum mechanics, that first explained atoms and
then solids starting in the 1930s.
This knowledge, acquired over approximately the past 100 years, has empowered man to fashion, to a large
degree, the characteristics of materials. Thus, tens of thousands of different materials have evolved with rather specialized
characteristics that meet the needs of our modern and complex society; these include metals, plastics, glasses, and fibers.
Development of many technologies that make our existence so comfortable has been intimately associated with the
accessibility of suitable materials.
An advancement in the understanding of a material type is often the forerunner to the stepwise progression of a
Automobiles would not have been possible without the availability of inexpensive steel or some other comparable
In our contemporary era, sophisticated electronic
devices rely on components that are made from what are called semiconducting materials.
materials science involves investigating the relationships that exist between the structures and properties of materials;
materials engineering is, on the basis of these structureproperty correlations, designing or engineering the structure of
a material to produce a predetermined set of properties;
The materials scientist develops or synthesizes
new materials, whereas a materials engineer creates new products or systems using existing materials, and/or develop
techniques for processing materials.
The combination of physics, chemistry, and the focus on the relationship between the properties of a material and
its microstructure is the domain of Materials Science.

The development of this science that allowed designing materials and provided a knowledge base for the
engineering applications is the domain of Materials Engineering.

The structure of a material relates to the arrangement of its internal components at various levels
Sub atomic electrons and nuclei (protons
and neutrons)
Atomic organization of atoms or molecules
Microscopic groups of atoms that are
normally agglomerated together
Macroscopic viewable with the un-aided eye
Property is a material trait in terms of the kind and magnitude of response to a specific imposed stimulus. (mechanical,
electrical, thermal, magnetic, optical and deteriorative)
Properties are independent of material shape or size
Virtually all important properties of solid materials may be grouped into six different categories: mechanical, electrical,
thermal, magnetic, optical, and deteriorative.
For each there is a characteristic type of stimulus capable of provoking different responses.
Mechanical properties - response to mechanical forces; relate deformation to an applied load or force; (elastic modulus &
Electrical properties, - the stimulus is an electric field (electrical conductivity and dielectric strength)
Thermal properties - response to application of heat (heat capacity and thermal conductivity)
Magnetic properties - response of a material to a magnetic field
Optical properties - the stimulus is electromagnetic or light radiation;(index of refraction or reflectivity)
Deteriorative characteristics - indicate the chemical reactivity of materials

Two other important components are involved in the science and engineering of materialsnamely, processing and
With regard to the relationships of these four components, the structure of a material will depend on how it is processed.
Furthermore, a materials performance will be a function of its properties.
Thus, the interrelationship between processing, structure, properties, and performance is as depicted in the schematic
illustration shown:

The four components of the discipline of materials science and engineering and their interrelationship

Three (3) thin disk specimens of aluminum oxide,

placed over a printed page in order to show their differences in
light-transmittance characteristics. Transparent, translucent ;
and opaque .These differences in optical properties are a consequence
of differences in structure of these materials which have resulted from
the way the materials were processed.
Why study MS & E?
An engineer/scientist may be exposed to a design problem involving materials: transmission gear, superstructure for a
building, oil refinery component, IC chip. Many times the problem is selecting the right material from the many thousands
that are available. Several criteria are used so a final decision can be made.
1. In-service conditions must be characterized for these will dictate the properties required of the material.
Only on rare occasion does a material possess the maximum or ideal combination of properties. Thus it may be necessary
to trade off one characteristic for another. The classic example involves strength and ductility: a material having a high
strength will only have a limited ductility. In such cases a reasonable compromise between 2 or more properties may be
2. A second selection consideration is any deterioration in properties that may occur during service operation: significant
reduction in mechanical strength may result from exposure to elevated temperatures or corrosive environments
3. The overriding consideration is economics. What will the product cost? A material may be found that has the ideal set
of properties but is prohibitively expensive. Here again, some compromise is inevitable. The cost of the finished piece
also includes any expense incurred during fabrication to produce the desired shape.
The more familiar the engineer or scientist is with the various characteristics and structure-property relationships as well
as processing techniques of materials, the more proficient and confident he will be to make judicious material choices
based on these criteria.
The Material Selection Process
1. Pick Application
determine required properties (mechanical, electrical, thermal, magnetic, optical,
2. Properties
Identify candidate materials (structure, composition)
3. Material
Identify required processing; it changes structure & over-all shape (casting, sintering, vapor
deposition, doping, forming, joining & annealing)
A Brief History of Materials Science & Engineering
c. 8000 BC - First use of Cu, in the area we presently call Iraq. Found in rock formations in the metallic state, dug up
and beaten into shape, to form tools, ornaments, etc. About this same time the first farming villages appear.
c. 5000 BC - Pottery made and Cu extracted from its ore. These two materials technologies are related. High
temperatures are needed to extract metal from ore, more than just sticks of wood and an open fire. Pottery ovens, properly
ventilated, provided the needed temperatures.

About this same time gold was discovered, dug up out of the ground and beaten into various shapes.
c. 3500 BC - Hardening of Cu with Sn. Beginning of the Bronze Age. The alloy is considerably stronger than the pure
c. 1500 BC - Production of metallic iron from its oxide ore. This requires temperatures considerably higher than
extraction of Cu and requires charcoal as a reducing agent. This was first done by the Hittites in present-day Turkey. Fe
has important advantages over Cu: It is much more common and cheaper.
The Fe-C alloy is much harder and stronger than Cu alloys so one can produce better tools and weapons with sharper
edges. Knowledge of Fe smelting was so valuable that the Hittite kings apparently restricted the export of Fe weapons
and kept secret their ironworking techniques. The Iron Age led to many changes in society. With a sharp Fe axe one
could chop down trees more easily for building wooden houses. This led to the deforestation of much of Europe.
c. 1200BC - Earliest quenching and tempering of steel to harden it. Steel is an alloy of Fe and C. This began in Greece.
Homer refers to this process in his Odyssey, describing the blinding of Cyclops.
c. 900 BC - Hardened steel tools & weapons were in widespread use, displacing the older bronze technology.
c. 1903 - Precipitation hardening of Al, the first nano-technology. This process is often referred to as age hardening. The
Wright Bros. used an alloy of Al + 8wt% Cu for the engine in their plane.
Fe engines were too heavy to get off the ground. Similar Al-Cu alloys have been used extensively in the aircraft industry
ever since, for the main structure and skin of the aircraft.
The production and heat treatment of Fe-C alloys and Al-Cu alloys are among the greatest technological
developments in human history. These developments have had a huge impact on society and our standard of living.
19th century breakthrough: Gibbs thermodynamic properties (atomic) related to physical properties of a material.
modern MS: enabled the exploration of space
MS - has driven, and been driven by, the development of revolutionary technologies of plastics, semiconductors &
Broadened to include every class of materials, including: ceramics, polymers, semiconductors, magnetic materials,
medical implant materials and biological materials

MS & E Objective
To develop materials or devices that have the best performance for a particular application.
Impact of MS & E
1. Selection of the most suitable material for each application;
2. Development of the best processing methods;
3. Creation of new materials or property modification for existing ones;
4. Design of new products and systems;
5. Improved capability to do work
Industrial applications of MS:
- material characterization: materials design, cost-benefit tradeoffs in industrial production of materials, processing techniques
- extraction of materials and their conversion into useful forms
- structures of glass and ceramics, cermets
- making of composite materials
- Polymers (plastics)
Materials Technology Challenges
- more sophisticated and specialized materials
- higher temperature materials for more efficient jet engines
- electronic devices that can operate faster and at higher temperatures
- materials with higher strength-to-weight ratios for aircraft and space vehicles
- more highly corrosion resistant materials for chemical process industries
Materials Technology Challenges
- environmental impact of production
nuclear energy
transportation efficiency
new and economical sources of energy
new materials with comparable properties
improved recycling technology
Materials are to scientists and engineers as a palette of colors are to an artist. Just as an artist can create different paintings using
different colors, material scientists can create and improve upon different materials using different elements of the periodic table, and
different synthesis and processing routes.