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Materials scientists engage in the research and development of new products by experimenting with the various chemical and physical properties of matter. They also investigate the structure of existing products and determine how to improve them. Materials scientist jobs can be found in dozens of different settings, including industrial manufacturing plants, electronics firms, biomaterials companies, and experimental nanotechnology laboratories. In addition, many scientists provide quality control and forensic engineering services in many different types of industries.
Most materials scientist jobs are found in research and development divisions of industrial manufacturing companies. Scientists are essential in the development of new equipment and commercial products. A materials scientist usually specializes ina certain type of raw substance, such as individual metals, plastics, glass, or textiles. He or she may determine how to improve existing products by making them stronger through chemical bonding and physical techniques. Many materials scientists in industrial settings experiment with new metal alloys or chemical polymers to develop brand new technologies.
A materials scientist who specializes in electronics investigates the properties of computer chips, circuits, semiconductors, transistors, and other electronic devices. A professional might experiment with silicon and various composite materials to develop faster, smaller, and more efficient electronic products. Advances in computer technology are largely due to the intensive research of skilled researchers in materials scientist jobs.
Experts who hold materials scientist jobs at biomaterials firms combine their knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics to create new products designed to replace or interact with living matter. Some biomaterials scientists specialize in creating new artificial organs or medical devices that are fully compatible with natural bodily systems. Professionals also develop cements used to mend broken bones and secure joints, artificial blood replacement products, and composite contact lenses.
Nanotechnology is a developing field that involves research and development at the atomic level. Professionals in nanotechnology materials scientist jobs usually specialize in a very detailed subfield, such as medical, energy, or construction research. Medical professionals study living tissue and viruses at the molecular level and develop more accurate means of delivering drugs and diagnosing conditions. Energy researchers investigate nuclear energy applications and tiny devices that are capable of storing massive amounts of potential energy. An expert may also experiment with microscopic polymers and chemicals that can be used in the construction of strong, lightweight, and cost-efficient construction materials.
Materials scientist jobs in forensic engineering and quality control involve examining products that break or fail to function properly. Scientists try to identify flaws in the engineering of certain products, such as automobile and airplane bodies. Following a careful investigation, a scientist might recommend that a different type of material or a new method of construction be used in the future.