From lightweight metal bike frames to ceramic tile on the space shuttle, innovations that make products last longer and work better are due in large part to the work of materials engineers. Often called a "materials person" in the industry, this inventor plays a key role in the manufacture of any pr ...
oduct. Presented with a plan for the item, he or she explores how to make it in the lab.
Sometimes this involves creating a new material by manipulating the atomic and molecular structures of substances. The new material and its application are tested repeatedly, with every outcome recorded and analyzed until the product meets design goals. Then this engineer plans the most effective process for making the newly invented materials in a factory.
Materials engineers are found in many industries, and usually specialize in a specific area, such as metals or electronics. Entry-level positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering program. However, many jobs require master's degrees and doctorates. This job is multi-faceted - part inventor, part scientist - and all problem solver.
Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop 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.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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