What does a Material Engineer do?

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.

Jobs Roles

  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
  • Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
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