At a Glance – Materials Science

Understanding this amazing technology enabler

Materials Science – the scientific study of materials used in manufacturing, all the way from the production of small consumer items to the construction of buildings. Numerous universities offer Materials Science as a course in its own right, as well as alongside engineering. The academic field originally developed during the Enlightenment as part of a new analytical approach to understanding physical entities. Students and researchers of Materials Science explore how different materials are made, what properties they have, how they can be used and how well they perform. Discovering and reimagining materials remains a vital enabler for innovation, so the popularity of the field is likely to grow.

As technology enables new methods of production and engineering, Materials Science has become increasingly important. As these processes change, so have the materials that facilitate them. One of the main barriers to scientific development is the lack of availability, or sheer cost, of certain materials. By investing in Materials Science, researchers have discovered the most effective way to apply existing materials as well as creating new ones which are cheaper to use. To improve the quality of 3D printing, for example, a university-based team is working on a novel solution based on liquid metal printing.

Some of the areas which have and will continue to benefit from research into Materials Science are 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing and HealthTech (bio printing and synthetics in particular). Lightweight solutions will also fuel advancements in aerospace, transportation and wearable technology. The purpose of Materials Science is to understand and manipulate materials to positively impact quality, so it’s an especially worthwhile investment for companies and academic institutions alike.