Materials Engineer Job Description
Materials Engineer Job Description
Materials engineers are engineering specialists who use their knowledge of materials to outline specifications, processes, and designs for materials. They specialize in the properties and behaviours of different raw materials and use their expertise to advance various technologies and facilitate production processes. The field of materials engineering is also sometimes referred to as materials science.
Materials engineers are employed across a wide range of industries, and their job is to research and implement ways to improve and enhance the performance and cost-effectiveness of various products and processes. They will advise clients and management on the implementation of alternative processes and materials, and collect data to assess the adaptability of plants or production facilities.
Materials engineers must have good teamwork and communication skills, and a good degree of responsibility. They must be able to present technical data to their colleagues, clients, and to non-expert staff. They should be good at applying scientific principles to industrial activities, and have a keen interest in the latest developments in science and technology. IT skills and an excellent knowledge of math are essential to their line of work, as are good analytical skills and the ability to solve complex problems. Materials engineers must be good at organizing and prioritizing tasks, as much of their work involves different stages of planning and management.
Materials engineers usually enter the profession with a degree in materials engineering, science or technology, but other academic qualifications are also acceptable for entry, including physics, metallurgy, geology, polymer science, chemistry, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, minerals engineering, and mining engineering. Those who want to advance to senior roles but do not have a degree in engineering or science, however, will need postgraduate qualifications in a relevant subject. Candidates with HNDs and degrees in unrelated disciplines can train at technician level jobs, but will find it hard to obtain the status of incorporated or chartered engineer.
To obtain professional status, an engineer must undergo training and gain significant experience on the job. Materials engineers with degrees in a relevant subject can work toward gaining incorporated or chartered status, depending on their academic qualifications and years of experience in the field.
Materials engineers will usually work with a variety of materials, which can range from polymers, industrial minerals and metals to textiles, glass, ceramics, rubber and plastics. Their day to day tasks can include finding the optimal combination of materials for specific purposes, and testing materials and measuring how resistant they are to certain chemicals, heat, and corrosion. Materials engineers will usually analyse data to determine which materials are best suited for specific uses, and weigh them against alternatives taking costs into consideration. Another factor engineers will always take into account is waste disposal. Considering possible environment pollution issues is a very important part of their job.
Materials engineers are typically in charge of overseeing quality control and advising on maintenance and inspection procedures. They will monitor conditions inside production facilities to see how materials react during use, also considering energy use and potential ways to reduce it. Materials engineers are also usually responsible for managing engineering technicians and other personnel employed at production plants.