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A brief introduction to —

Advanced Materials Processes

Materials science and engineering lies at the very heart of ALL engineering...everything has to be made of something, right?

Definition of Advanced Materials Processes:
This is the creation of materials at the molecular and/or atomic scale for the purpose of advancing technology, developing more efficient products, creating new manufacturing technologies, or improving the human experience. There is always a need for better materials and/or Nanostructures are something that have a physical dimension smaller than 100 nanometers. A nanometer equals a metric unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter. To put that scale in another context, the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. Or another way of putting it: a nanometer is the amount a man's beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face. - the issue is how much better and at what cost?

What is a Materials Scientist?
A materials scientist is someone who studies the stuff that things are made of. An aerospace engineer might design a new jet engine - the materials scientist designs the superalloys that can withstand the tremendous heat and stress. A computer scientist might design a faster processor - the materials scientist creates the semiconductors and figures out how to make them. A doctor might design a new artificial knee - the materials scientist designs materials strong enough to work but that won't be rejected by the body. Ultimately, the materials scientist strives to understand why materials behave the way that they do and how to make them.

Joking aside, all around the world,
CSI (Crime Scene Investigations) Investigators
make use of advanced materials processes to complete their analysis.
Research Process:
Applied is put to practical use; concerned with concrete problems or data rather than with fundamental principles.scientist, with a particular application in mind, will scour lists of known materials and/or nanostructures looking for one that meets his or her needs. When existing materials will not work for their projects, basic scientists work with applied scientists to develop new materials. Because of the specificity of this field, both types of scientists collaborate to analyze the particular qualities of the material and the conditions in which the product will be used.

The Future:
Our future increasingly depends on the development of new materials and innovative combinations of materials - think about the various different materials used to make an iPodTM, a cell phone, or a flat-screen TV... or to power a hybrid car. Energy is a growing research area in science and engineering in which advanced materials will play a crucial role - in the development of fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, wind and solar power, "smart" structures, and even nuclear power.

Cutting-edge Examples of Advanced Materials Processes Include:
  • Tiny carbon nanotubes in new types of X-ray tubes that are more efficient and safer than the current ones at airports and in doctor’s offices.
  • New coatings and methods of manufacturing Teflon - an example of a polymer material made with chemical processing methods that causes much less pollution and is ‘environmentally friendly.’
  • Materials in new diagnostic methods such as those used for medical biopsies.
Discoveries in the fields of chemistry, math and physics allow these Advanced Materials Processes to be found today. The field of Advanced Materials Prcesses includes engineered Polymers are any of numerous natural and synthetic compounds of usually high molecular weight consisting of up to millions of repeated linked units. and Resins are polymers with an indefinite and often a high molecular weight and a softening or melting range that exhibits a tendency to flow when subjected to stress. , advanced fibers (such as carbon, Kevlar and sapphire), metal matrix Composite materials (or composites for short) are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties and which remain separate and distinct on a macroscopic (visible to the naked eye) level within the finished structure. , structural 

Ceramics are any of various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials made by shaping and then firing a nonmetallic mineral, such as clay, at a high temperature. , ceramic composites, other types of composites, high temperature 

Alloys are a mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten; , specialty adhesive, specialty chemicals, powder metals, thin films, surface engineering and nanotechnology.

Pittsburgh Connection: Home to some of the leading material companies - Alcoa, Bayer MaterialScience, PPG Industries and United States Steel - the region is well poised to capitalize on the nanomaterials boom. Additional local important emerging technology clusters in this sector include specialty metals, electro-optics and microelectromechanical systems.

Advanced Materials Processes has also been called:
Advanced Materials Technology  •  Advanced Materials  •  Materials Technologies
Specialty Materials  •  Performance Materials  •  Engineered Materials
Composite Materials  •  Smart Material Systems

For more information on advanced materials processes, be sure to visit:
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