Materials science and engineering is a multidisciplinary subject drawing on all branches of science and combining them with manufacturing technology and design to solve engineering problems. Materials scientists study the relationships between the processing, structure and properties of materials and the performance of engineering components manufactured from them.
The underlying importance of materials science to the US economy is illustrated by the wide range of industries which it underpins, from electronics to construction, transport to healthcare; all are reliant on a fundamental understanding of the structure, properties, and performance of materials. The global materials industry is worth an estimated $550 billion.
Materials researchers are of crucial importance to emerging technologies, the most significant of these being the ability to manipulate, design, and create materials on the atomic scale – through nanotechnology. This area of technology has the potential to transform nearly every aspect of everyday life, opening up new capabilities and markets, making improvements to the quality of life.
New materials are the sparks that fire technological revolutions. Sixty years ago nylon revolutionized the fashion industry; 30 years ago the silicon chip revolutionized information technology; ten years ago biomedical materials began a revolution in healthcare. New horizons are extending at both ends of the size spectrum: from microscopic devices performing surgery at the end of a cardiologist’s catheter, to huge lightweight space stations and giant 800-seat passenger aircraft.
The Materials Science & Engineering programs at Boise State provide a thorough grounding in the physical and chemical structure of materials, the properties of materials, manufacturing processes, and design. Academically, the programs bridge the pure and applied sciences, while vocationally they constitute a training, which embraces a plurality of disciplines and is in demand throughout industry and business.
These programs cover all materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. This is essential for students who wish to work in multiple-disciplinary engineering sectors such as automotive and aerospace manufacture, where optimization of material selection is critical.