Materials Engineering

Program Description

Materials engineering involves engineering of materials themselves; materials are designed and selected for their function in society. Students in the materials engineering program will learn to think in the materials paradigm, which focuses on the interrelationships between structure, properties, processing, and performance. Materials engineers also characterize the structure, properties, and performance of materials in order to determine interrelationships.

Students who want to take materials engineering will benefit by developing spatial reasoning skills, the ability to visualize technical information, and an interest in small length scales and how materials fail.

Materials engineering involves selecting the length scale of the material (from molecular or atomic, to nano, micro, and macro) and by choosing the class of material (from soft to hard to composites) while integrating this knowledge through the processing, structure, properties and performance of materials.

The discipline focuses on the production and engineering applications of metallic and non‐metallic materials (polymers, ceramics, composites, electronic materials and biomaterials). Materials engineers develop, modify, and use processes to convert raw materials to useful engineering materials with specified desirable properties. The discipline therefore includes aspects of materials production, materials processing, materials applications, and design. Materials engineering embraces physics, chemistry and mechanics to understand processing and applications of materials.

Graduates of the program find employment in all sectors of the materials cycle. The primary sector is raw materials processing and includes such industries as mineral processing, aluminum smelting and steel making. The next sector is manufacturing and extends from the rolling of the metals to the materials engineering aspects of manufacturing products in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, photonics, and petrochemical industries. The final sector includes the service industries with such specialties as corrosion, wear, fracture mechanics and failure investigation. This sector also includes the recycling industries. In all sectors materials engineers are often involved with the selection of materials for use in designs, and are consulted for failure analysis.

The undergraduate materials engineering program, the only one of its kind in the prairie provinces, includes a set of core materials engineering courses emphasizing underlying principles and their engineering applications. With the program electives it is possible for the students to go into more depth in particular areas of interest, e.g., mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, polymer materials, structural materials, and functional materials.

Common Work Term Tasks

On their work terms, materials engineering co-op students can contribute to / perform the following tasks:

  • Materials processing/production
  • Materials application/design
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Corrosion analysis
  • Metallographic analysis
  • Failure investigation
  • Alloy behavior studies
  • Quality assurance
  • Plating and coating studies
  • Sample preparation
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Process design and optimization
  • Performance analysis

Last update: August 31, 2018