Materials science and engineering

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Materials science and materials technology (in short: MatWerk , also: materials science ) is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the research and development of materials and materials ; Technically relevant components are made from materials .

Definition of terms

The terms materials science and materials science (also referred to as materials technology or materials science ) are closely linked: Materials science, with a more natural - scientific approach, deals with the production of materials and their characterization of structure and properties, while materials technology is the engineering- oriented material development and the corresponding processing methods and the operational behavior of components in use. Both sub-areas include research activities in a wide variety of material classes and material development chains.

An essential feature of materials science and engineering is the consideration of the structural composition of the materials and the mechanical, physical and chemical properties that depend on them. This includes the characterization, development, manufacture and processing of construction and functional materials.

The subject area is made up of knowledge-oriented basic research on materials and engineering materials development with application relevance. It develops a strong leverage effect in the sense of converting research results into market-relevant innovations . At the same time, materials science and materials technology, as an interdisciplinary science, have a far-reaching technical integration effect in that they take up knowledge from neighboring specialist areas and are in a reciprocal relationship with them. For materials science, the links with chemistry , physics and the life sciences should be mentioned here, while for materials technology the areas of mechanics , construction technology , production technology and process engineering are relevant.

Today, materials science and engineering are an integral part of the course in practically all engineering fields, mainly in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering , but also in the natural sciences of physics and chemistry and increasingly in medicine . In the meantime, materials science and materials technology has firmly established itself as an independent discipline not only in research, but also in university teaching.

Socio-economic relevance

The department sees itself as a key discipline that provides a multitude of solutions for socially relevant challenges, namely in the major future fields of energy , climate and environmental protection , resource conservation , mobility , health , safety and communication . Current studies emphasize the overwhelming proportion of all technical innovations that depend directly or indirectly on materials.

The knowledge gained from materials science enables the production of technical materials with new or improved properties. The properties of a component depend on the choice of material, the structural design of the component, the manufacturing process and the operational stresses in use. This includes the entire life cycle from components to recycling or material reuse. This also includes the development of completely new manufacturing processes. Without these constant research results, continuous progress, for example in mechanical engineering , automobile construction , the aviation industry , the chemical industry , medical technology , energy technology , environmental protection, etc. would be inconceivable.

historical development

The history of materials and materials is much older than the subject. The progress in knowledge was initially made in the concrete application of materials in everyday life. From the Stone Age to the seventh millennium BC, natural materials such as ivory , hides , hides , woods, bones , bark or stones were used for technical purposes. At the end of the Neolithic Age , various chemical and thermal processes were then used to refine raw materials into more sophisticated materials (burning clay , tanning hides into leather ), and melting sand into glass . This also includes the invention and the use of ceramics .

As a result, entire epochs of mankind were named after the finds of the formative materials: beginning with the Copper Age with the processing of copper , gold and silver and later also lead and tin . In the Bronze Age from the second millennium BC, these substances were deliberately mixed with others in order to achieve new properties: tools and weapons made from a copper-tin alloy were found from this time . In the Iron Age , the third major period of early history in Europe from around 800 BC. BC, people learned to smelt iron and use it to make tools and weapons. From the history of technology for mining and metallurgy and metalworking crafts known to specialists blast furnaces , Raffinierwerke, hammer and finally rolling mills ever improving.

For a long time the interest of research was limited almost exclusively to metallic materials. Nevertheless, metals could only be examined empirically until they became highly industrialized in the second half of the 19th century. In the middle of the 19th century, systematic research into the properties of steel , iron or light metals such as aluminum as well as ceramic materials began, from which the term materials science developed. The findings from this enabled the development of materials according to the properties required by industry. These are determined with material testing as an essential part of materials science. The 20th century was characterized by a constantly increasing variety of materials. The first plastics were mass- produced in the 1930s . Since the 1950s, have with the invention of the transistor , the silicon and other semiconductor materials gained considerable importance.

The scientific discipline that deals with materials as the subject of university education developed at the beginning of the 20th century at technical universities of metallurgy and metallurgy , materials testing and at some universities from physics , chemistry and mineralogy . It was only with the analytical-experimental investigation methods emerging at that time that crystalline solids could be more or less penetrated: This is how modern metallography came about . At the same time, more and more powerful and at the same time lighter machines and devices were necessary for work processes. This is why design theory began to be interested in the possibilities of new materials. These subjects were housed in industrial research institutes, universities, technical colleges and various public institutions such as the state material testing offices, the Reichsanstalt (later Federal Institute) for materials testing or the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (later the Federal Institute). In addition, there were technical and scientific associations such as the Association of German Ironworkers (founded in 1880), the Society of German Metalworkers and Miners (founded in 1912; today Society for Mining, Metallurgy, Raw Material and Environmental Technology e.V.) and the German Society for Metallkunde (founded in 1919; today the German Society for Materials Science).

In the meantime, the terms materials science and materials technology have established themselves for the discipline in research and teaching (after materials science and materials science ) .


The field of materials science and technology comprises numerous material and material classes, each of which has gained great importance in research and development as well as in application. There are various ways of classifying the material and material classes. The traditional division into glass / ceramics, metals and polymers is largely obsolete.

One possibility of classification according to the current status is:

A common classification is made into construction materials , whose mechanical properties are in the foreground, and functional materials , in which primarily other physico-chemical (e.g. electrical, thermal, optical, magnetic) properties are used. In addition, there have recently been material and material classifications that categorize using function as a property.

Examples are:

The property of a material is not only determined by its chemical composition, but by structuring on all sizes.

Examples are:

Research topics

Materials science

In materials science, the research topics build on knowledge that has already been developed on natural scientific phenomena and place the basic scientific research proposed therein in a context of possible applications. It goes significantly beyond gaining knowledge about fundamental physical or chemical phenomena.

Topics of thermodynamics and kinetics are of far-reaching importance for materials engineering . This includes thermodynamic and kinetic basics for engineering-relevant materials, such as the development of phase diagrams , the investigation of diffusion processes or the properties of grain boundaries . A material science research field that is characterized by great diversity is the field of functional materials, whose magnetic , electrical or optical properties are closely linked to their structure and specific manufacturing processes.

On the micro- and nano-scale, however, the focus is also on the microstructural mechanical properties of materials, which have significant effects on the macroscopic behavior of a component and thus represent an important link between materials science and materials technology. Essential properties of materials are achieved by structuring and functionalizing interfaces and surfaces. Even in the field of engineering research, this affects the nanoscale and even the order of a few atomic layers. This also applies to a considerable extent to the range of topics relating to biomaterials. These are synthetic materials or materials that can be used in medicine for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Materials science includes cell biological examinations for biocompatibility or the clinical test directly necessary for research into biomaterials , but without primarily dealing with aspects of biophysics .

Materials engineering

Typical topics in materials technology differ from process or production engineering aspects in that they focus clearly on the actual development of improved or new materials. With the metallurgical , thermal and thermomechanical treatment of materials, this includes all aspects of heat treatment in materials technology in the molten or solidified state, but also classic alloy research and various aspects of recycling with reference to material technology-metallurgical issues. In the field of sintering as a manufacturing route for materials, a wide range of research and development topics relating to the two dominant material classes of ceramic and metallic materials are considered. In the broad field of composite materials, the spectrum of topics ranges from materials with a metallic, ceramic and polymer matrix to reinforcement by means of particles , short fibers or long fibers including carbon fiber reinforced plastics .

The mechanical properties play a dominant role in construction materials and represent a further subject area. These include material-mechanical issues on the macro scale including thermomechanical stress and the subject area of tribology . Finally, the material-technical aspects of coating or modification of surfaces including material-technical corrosion research are summarized under the term coating and surface technology .

job profile

Due to the wide range of its topics and the versatile connection options to other disciplines, the field of materials science and materials technology offers many career prospects in the private sector, in research institutes, at universities, technical monitoring institutes and in the public service, for example in materials testing offices. The fields of activity in the industry include all areas from extraction and refinement to manufacture and processing and recycling of materials. This includes numerous activities in research and development, simulation and modeling, construction and calculation, manufacturing and processing as well as in quality assurance, damage analysis and operational monitoring.

The industries involved include the materials manufacturing and processing industry, mechanical engineering , the automotive industry , aerospace, plastics industry, chemical industry , electrical industry , energy technology , microelectronics , medical technology and environmental protection .


To work in the field of materials science and technology, there are numerous training professions (apprenticeship professions), including:


In Germany you can study materials science and engineering at over 37 universities. Due to the high interdisciplinary nature of the subject, there are:

  • Independent interdisciplinary courses in materials science and technology (or materials science)
  • Natural science courses with specializations in materials science
  • Engineering courses with specializations in materials science and materials technology

At the beginning of the course, the focus is usually on basic training in mathematical, natural science and engineering subjects. These include in particular inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry , physics (especially Experimental Physics ), Solid State Chemistry , Maths , Measurement , Mechanics and Thermodynamics .

Afterwards, knowledge of the theoretical, experimental and technological aspects of the individual material groups is usually expanded and deepened. This includes the structure of materials, production and processing, material testing and characterization, modeling, simulation and component and system behavior. Structural property relationships or thermodynamics and kinetics, material selection and application. Non-technical units, for example on the basics of economics or project organization , but also technical English as well as excursions , study projects and industrial internships complete the training.

Research institutions


Research institutions that deal with materials science:

Universities and colleges

Other research institutes



BV MatWerk

The Federal Association of Materials Science and Technology e. V. (BV MatWerk) is the amalgamation of associations and associations of materials science and technology in Germany (BV MatWerk). The internet portal of the department of materials science and engineering brings together all relevant internet presences of the department under one roof.

See also

Portal: Materials  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of materials


  • Gustav ER Schulze : Metal Physics. A textbook . Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1967, (2nd, edited edition. Springer, Vienna et al. 1974).
  • Hartmut Worch, Wolfgang Pompe, Werner Schatt : Material Science. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-527-32323-4 .
  • Erhard Hornbogen, Gunther Eggeler, Ewald Werner: Materials Structure and properties of ceramic, metal, polymer and composite materials. Springer-Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-71857-4 .
  • Wolfgang Bergmann: Materials Technology 1 Basics. Hanser Fachbuchverlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-446-41338-2 .
  • Olaf Jacobs: Materials science. Vogel Buchverlag, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8343-3152-X .
  • Markus J. Buehler, Huajan Gao: Computer simulations in materials research. In: Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau. 57, No. 11, 2004, ISSN  0028-1050 , pp. 593-601.
  • James F. Shackelford: Materials Technology for Engineers, Fundamentals - Processes - Applications. Pearson Studium, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-8273-7303-8 .
  • Klaus Hentschel : From materials research to materials science . In: Klaus Hentschel, Carsten Reinhardt (Hrsg.): On the history of materials research. Special issue from NTM. 19, 1, 2011, pp. 5-40.
  • Karl Heinz Beelich, Otto H. Jacobs: Examination trainer materials science. CD-ROM. Vogel Buchverlag, Würzburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8343-3274-5 .

Web links

Wikibooks: Material science metal  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. Hartmut Worch, Wolfgang Pompe, Werner Schatt: Material Science. John Wiley & Sons, 2011, ISBN 978-3-527-32323-4 .
  2. a b c d e f Definition paper of the German Research Foundation for Materials Science and Technology (DFG), see
  3. Holger Jens Schnell (Ed.): Materials science and materials technology in Germany. Recommendations on profiling, teaching and research. (= acatech takes position no. 3). Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8167-7913-1 . ( ( Memento from September 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ))
  10. Institute for Materials Science | University of Stuttgart. Retrieved July 20, 2020 .
  11. IW - The IW. Retrieved November 16, 2018 .
  12. ^ Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Retrieved November 16, 2018 .
  13. RWTH Aachen University - Section for Materials Science and Technology
  14. ^ University of Augsburg - Institute for Physics
  15. ^ University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Engineering
  16. Technische Universität Berlin - Institute for Materials Science and Technologies
  17. University of Bremen - Department of Production Engineering - Mechanical and Process Engineering
  18. ^ Clausthal University of Technology - institute overview
  19. ^ Technical University of Darmstadt - Department of Materials Science
  20. Technical University of Dortmund - Chair for Materials Technology
  21. ^ Technical University of Dresden - Institute for Materials Science
  22. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg - Department of Materials Science
  23. Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg - Faculty for Materials Science and Technology
  24. Georg August University of Göttingen
  25. Hamburg University of Technology - Institute for Materials Physics and Technology
  26. Hamburg University of Technology
  28. ^ Friedrich Schiller University Jena - Otto Schott Institute for Materials Research
  29. ^ Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
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  31. ^ Institute for Materials Technology: Institute for Materials Technology. In: Retrieved March 16, 2016 .
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  35. WZMW - University of Marburg
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  37. ^ Research institutes. Furtwangen University , accessed on May 18, 2016 .
  38. ^ Fields of research and development. (PDF) Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena , accessed on May 18, 2016 . (PDF; 40 kB)
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  46. Aalen University - courses offered by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Technology. Retrieved July 9, 2019 .
  47. German. Accessed January 30, 2018 .
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  49. ^ DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials eV
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