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What is Materials Science?

Materials Science and Engineering is an interdisciplinary area of study that investigates the synthesis, composition, structure, and characteristics of solid state materials, and their use in practical applications. The field combines aspects of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, and - increasingly - biology, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering. Materials come in many forms: metals, alloys, polymers, electronic materials such as semiconductors and superconductors, ceramics, composite materials, structural materials, biomaterials, and nanomaterials. Their properties (mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical) determine the selection or design of a material for an enormous variety of applications, ranging from structural steels to computer microchips, medical devices to batteries, and beyond.

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Related Guides

Materials Science is a highly interdisciplinary field.  Consult these additional subject guides for more information on resources, tools, and services provided by the University Libraries.

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