Materials Engineering

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Program Description

Common Work Term Tasks

Biomedical Option

Nano and Functional Materials Option

Work Term Sequence


Program Description

Materials Engineering involves engineering of materials themselves; materials are designed and selected for their function in society. Materials Engineering students 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.


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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

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Biomedical Option

The use of novel materials has been finding increased acceptance in biomedicine. Specifically engineered for medical performance, novel materials provide unique solutions to biomedical problems. Novel metallic alloys, molecularly designed polymers and tailored composites have enabled significant progress in health care and medical diagnostics.

The Biomedical Option retains all of the core courses of the Materials Engineering Program. It then adds courses specific to the biomedical sciences, to provide students with the necessary background for employment in the biomedical field.

In addition to the tasks listed under Materials Engineering above, co-op students specializing in the Biomedical Option can contribute to / perform the following tasks:

Biomedical Areas:
  • Develop and manufacture biomedical devices, biosensors and biomaterials
Materials Engineering Areas:
  • Emission studies
  • Performance studies
  • Corrosion studies
  • Quality control
  • Turnarounds
  • Process control
  • Reservoir evaluations
  • Economic analyses
  • Process design
  • Computer simulation
  • Equipment sizing/scale-up
  • Process analysis/optimization
  • Facility operation and maintenance inspections
  • Real-time computer applications

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Nano and Functional Materials Option

Functional materials are those which exhibit inherent properties and functions (e.g., piezoelectricity, magnetism, ferroelectricity, or energy storage). Functional materials can be in any class of material – ceramics, metals, polymers, semiconductors, or composites. Subject areas in this stream cover electronic, optical and magnetic materials, thin film materials, nanomaterials and their applications, nanostructured molecular sieves, nano and functional materials processing and fabrication. Employment opportunities exist in several sectors of Canadian industry, such as microelectronic/optoelectronic device fabrication, MEMS processing and fuel cell development.

In addition to the tasks listed under Materials Engineering above, co-op students specializing in Nano and Functional Materials can contribute to / perform the following tasks:

  • Develop and manufacture and process materials containing nanoscale components
  • Materials processing/production
  • Materials application/design
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Corrosion analysis
  • Metallographic analysis
  • Failure investigation
  • Alloy behaviour studies
  • Quality assurance
  • Plating and coating studies
  • Sample preparation
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Process design and optimization
  • Performance analysis
  • Biomedical applications
  • Advanced materials research

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Work Term Sequence

All co-op students studying materials engineering follow the same work term sequence.

Students: Please refer to the University of Alberta Course Calendar for program sequence details.

 

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Last update: September 14, 2017