Everything around us is made of some kind of material – and it doesn’t JUST mean the fabric in our clothing.
It’s the matter from which things are made. The fleecy cotton in your hoodie might be one type of material.
It’s a great choice for warm clothing because it’s flexible and soft and easy to wash. Take another example, the alloy wheels on a car are made of another type of material.
Alloy metals are very light but strong. High performance cars need their parts to be both, so this material is just the job.
And something else you’ll be familiar with – your mobile phone is made of a number of different materials.
The case might be a polymer plastic and the screen will be made of a really tough transparent material, either a treated glass or a type of plastic which is tough enough to withstand a few bumps. Nothing worse than a cracked screen!
Material engineers are experts at understanding the differences between all these different types of things.
This helps them to be expert at choosing the right one for the job. Some material engineers work to create brand new ones too. Like Smart Fabrics!
Some smart fabrics help to keep us extra warm – or cool. Sports manufacturers have found ways to weave aluminium and titanium into sports clothing which makes the fabric much cooler to the touch.
Great for hot weather or when you’re working up a sweat.
To be a material engineer you have to learn all about the different types of materials out there and their properties.
Perhaps your job will be to give a toy company advice on a safe light plastic for a remote control plane?
Or maybe a company who make tents wants to invent a super waterproof new groundsheet. This might mean carrying out experiments in a laboratory to create a new type of plastic.
As with many types of engineering, computers are used to check test results and help with the designs.