Hello! I’ve been a reader and commenter here on Engineer Blogs since my first timid steps into the blogosphere. I’m thrilled to be here as a guest blogger, and to represent my little corner of the engineering world: materials science and engineering.
I generally find that most undergraduates are unaware of MSE unless required to take an intro course, which includes many mechanical and biomedical engineering students. Part of this is a matter of size; even the largest MSE departments are usually under 100 students per graduating class. It is also very typical that the class size grows dramatically between the 2nd and 3rd year, when students change majors or are finally forced to declare. Another reason has to do with job titles after graduation. Looking through the alum database from my undergraduate institution, job titles are more frequently Process Engineer, Product Engineer, R&D Engineer, or Quality Engineer.
We don’t have the big name or numbers of electrical or mechanical engineering, or the glamour of aerospace, but materials engineering influences pretty much every other field of engineering. It’s kind of awesome like that.
Fundamentally, materials science is all about the relationships between structure, processing, properties, and performance. It also means that I tend to argue with How It’s Made when they attempt to explain why a certain process is used, or what a specific step does, especially when the topic is metallurgy. On the other hand, part of what makes the field so fascinating is that everything is made of something, and figuring out what would be necessary to make it is almost endlessly amusing.
What do you find most interesting or exciting about your engineering discipline?