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Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Research Areas in Detail
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering studies metals, materials for weapons, electronic materials, composite materials, and macromolecular materials to meet changing circumstances. The department has 45 professors, 393 graduate students, and 397 undergraduate students.
Metallurgy, a well-established discipline in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, encompasses the study of elements in metallic alloy and composite form. It includes the processing and refining of raw materials by chemical processes, the design of alloy systems for improved performance, and microstructural control of metals by heat treatment and mechanical working. The correlations between the composition, structure, properties of metallic phases, and mechanical behavior of metals under service conditions are some of the key research fields. The specific research areas are alloy design, melting and solidification, calculation of thermodynamic properties and phase diagrams, structural and mechanical properties of new alloys, surface coating, and reaction kinetics in metallurgy.
The field of ceramics considers the science and engineering linked to design using a wide range of inorganic materials including oxides, nitrides, carbides, silicates, and more complex compounds. Ceramic materials are synthesized using fine powders, thin films, single crystals, poly-crystals, or composites and serve a variety of vital functions in the electronics, chemical, energy, and manufacturing industries. Research in ceramics covers a wide spectrum, including the design and synthesis of new ceramics; the study of chemistry?structure?property relationships, with an emphasis on the electrical, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties; and the processing and fabrication of ceramic components with microstructure and macrostructure designed for specific purposes. The specific research areas are structural ceramics, solid-state ionics, fabrication processes, characterization of composite materials, and powder processing.
The field of electronic materials deals with the science and technology of materials used in semiconducting, magnetic, optical, and superconducting device applications. It focuses on the design and realization of maximum-performance materials by understanding and controlling electronic processes and structural aspects, such as the atomic arrangement, defects, interfaces, and phase constitution and morphology. Research topics in this field include electronic material processing in bulk and thin-film form; characterization of the semiconducting, optical, and magnetic properties of crystalline and amorphous materials as related to their microstructure and composition; and theoretical and experimental study of the electronic characteristics of solid?solid, solid?liquid, and solid?gas interfaces and their implications for device development. The specific research areas are electronic ceramics, magnetic materials, organic electronic/photonic materials, semiconductor processing, thin film processing, epitaxial growth, and processing for sensors and actuators.
Polymers are fascinating materials that have replaced many traditional materials. Synthetic and natural high polymers refer to long organic molecules, the principal constituents of which are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and a few other elements. Owing to their unique molecular design capability, an infinite number of bonding combinations can be conceived. As a result, numerous polymers can be produced, and virtually all of them exhibit low specific gravity, ease of fabrication, and a wide range of properties depending upon the composition, structure, and processing history. Both scientific study and engineering of polymers have reached a high level of sophistication, permitting these materials to play an increasing role in advanced technology. Specific research areas cover molecular design and synthesis, structure/property analysis, and applications of various polymers in the aerospace and automotive industries, semiconductor and information/communication industries, energy industries, and the life sciences and environmental studies.
All of these fields have been developed through mutually complementary relationships among different materials. The development of materials by interdisciplinary cooperation is expected to not only optimize properties and production processes but also to create innovative materials that will support novel science and technology in the future.