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Materials Science and Engineering Major


Additional Info

CHMS Assistant Professor Klaus van Benthem on TED.

View the TED Talks Video 

About Klaus van Benthem


Materials Science and Engineering is directed toward an understanding of the structure, properties, and behavior of materials. Society demands new and improved materials with capabilities far superior to common metals, polymers, and ceramics. New materials are needed for high-speed transportation systems, surgical and dental implants, new generations of power plants, and solid-state electronic devices in computer and communication technology. Both the development of new materials and the understanding of present-day materials demand a thorough knowledge of basic engineering and scientific principles, including crystal structure, elastic and plastic behavior, thermodynamics, phase equilibria and reaction rates, and physical and chemical behavior of engineering materials.

Materials engineers study phenomena that are found in many different engineering operations, from fracture behavior in automobiles to fatigue behavior in aircraft frames; from corrosion behavior in petro-chemical refineries to radiation-induced damage in nuclear power plants; and from the fabrication of steel to the design of semiconductors. Materials engineers are also increasingly involved in developing the new materials needed to attain higher efficiencies in existing and proposed energy conversion schemes and will play a central role in the development of new technologies based on composites and high-temperature superconductivity.

The Materials Science and Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.