The Materials Science and Engineering Program prepares engineers and scientists to meet the increasing demand for materials with unusual engineering properties and applications. The program provides an understanding of the methods used in the processing, characterization, control, and improvement of properties of engineering materials. This is achieved by addressing the most current and pressing problems in materials usage associated with thin films, solid state devices, fracture-safe design, elevated temperatures, aggressive environments, and nondestructive evaluation of flaws and residual stresses. Materials of special interest in the program include polymers, ceramics, composites, and high-temperature superconductors.
Recent technological and economic developments, emphasized by the urgent need for new energy sources, have led to increasing demands for materials, which have unusual engineering properties and applications. From both the technical and economic points of view, it is recognized that the controlling factor in these developments is frequently a materials problem. These concerns are further compounded by growing difficulties in assuring continuous availability of various strategic materials. For these reasons, the need for research and graduate education in materials engineering has never been greater.
Because of its broad interdisciplinary nature, and its strong relationship with many engineering disciplines, the Materials Science and Engineering Program leads to an interdisciplinary degree in the Cullen College of Engineering. Relevant research and teaching facilities, however, are developed by individual engineering departments, where continuous efforts are made to expand and to strengthen materials engineering research and graduate programs.