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Engineering Branches (Materials Science)
Materials science is a multidisciplinary field focusing on functional solids, whether the function served is structural, electronic, thermal, chemical, magnetic, optical, or some combination of these. It uses those parts of chemistry and physics that deal with the properties of materials, but also includes a distinctive set of scientific techniques that probe materials structure. Evaluation of material performance is grounded in the field of engineering where that material is applied, and applying materials science requires a knowledge of the processing technologies of the material in question. Material properties, structure, performance, and processing are so essential and interrelated that they are often presented as the vertices of the materials science tetrahedron.
The widespread applications of materials science give rise to the title materials science and engineering. Radical materials advances can drive the creation of new products or even new industries, but stable industries also employ materials scientists to make incremental improvements and/or to troubleshoot. Industrial applications of materials science include materials design, cost/benefit tradeoffs in industrial production of materials, processing techniques (casting, rolling, welding, ion implantation, crystal growth, thin-film deposition, sintering, glassblowing, etc.), and analytical techniques (electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, calorimetry, nuclear microscopy (HEFIB) etc.).
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