Researches and studies the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determines ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications.
This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.
A person in this career:
- Recommends materials for reliable performance in various environments.
- Tests metals to determine conformance to specifications of mechanical strength, strength-weight ratio, ductility, magnetic and electrical properties, and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, heat, and cold.
- Researches methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.
- Tests individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met.
- Confers with customers to determine how to tailor materials to their needs.
- Visits suppliers of materials or users of products to gather specific information.
- Teaches in colleges and universities.
- Devises testing methods to evaluate the effects of various conditions on particular materials.
- Performs experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.
- Conducts research on the structures and properties of materials, such as metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones.