If you have ever wondered what it's like to dive deep into the world of materials, exploring their chemical properties, and discovering innovative ways to create new materials, you're in the right place. As a materials scientist, you have the unique opportunity to contribute to the advancement of various industries by developing materials with specific properties for diverse applications.
Materials scientist job profile
Your primary role as a materials scientist is to analyse the chemical properties and construction of both man-made and natural materials, such as glass, ceramics, metals, plastics, polymers, rubber, and textiles. By studying these materials, you will develop a deep understanding of their properties and explore ways to enhance existing materials or create entirely new ones with unique characteristics.
Your work as a materials scientist encompasses the entire process, from research and selection of raw materials to designing, creating, and testing new materials. You will collaborate with a team of experts and utilize advanced techniques and technologies to mix, experiment, and analyse materials. Your discoveries and innovations will contribute to the development of products that are used in various industries like military, medical and aviation.
Materials scientist responsibilities
As a materials scientist, your main responsibilities will include:
- Conducting research on chemical compounds and analysing their properties
- Comparing and evaluating different composite materials
- Experimenting with new materials and testing their physical properties
- Operating computer modelling software to simulate material behaviours
- Mixing materials together to create new combinations
- Discovering new properties in existing materials
- Writing technical manuals and reports
- Advising manufacturers on suitable materials for their products
- Managing technicians and assistants in the laboratory
Materials scientist qualifications
To become a materials scientist, you will typically need the following qualifications:
- Bachelor's Degree: Completing a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for this career. A Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Materials Science is a common pathway, but other degrees such as science, mathematics, biochemistry, chemistry, or engineering can also provide the necessary knowledge and skills.
- Master's Degree (optional): While not always mandatory, completing a master's degree in materials science can enhance your job opportunities and demonstrate a higher level of expertise. A Master of Materials Science and Engineering is a popular choice.
- Work Experience: Gaining practical experience is important for materials scientists. You can gain relevant experience by working as an assistant to a scientist or in a laboratory setting, where you can develop transferable skills in scientific processes and handling chemicals.
Materials scientist workplace
Materials scientists work in various industries and settings. Some common work environments include:
- Research centres: Many materials scientists work in research centres, where they carry out experiments, analyse data, and develop new materials.
- Manufacturing companies: Some materials scientists are employed by manufacturing companies to help with material selection, product design, and quality control.
- Government agencies: Materials scientists may work for government agencies, particularly in the defence sector, to develop advanced materials for national defence purposes.
- Academic institutions: Universities and colleges often employ materials scientists as professors or researchers, where they conduct studies, teach courses, and mentor students.