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What Is Materials Science?

Materials science makes construction of skyscrapers possible.
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  • Written By: Maya Austen
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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There are many branches of science, but all fields of science have a singular overall goal, which is to advance the understanding of natural processes in order to answer questions and solve problems. Materials science, as the name implies, is the branch of science dedicated to the study of materials. It’s the branch of science that seeks to understand why materials behave the way they do. In an effort to discover these facts, materials scientists set out to understand the properties of different materials, how they’re processed, their microstructure and how these different elements relate to one another. Gaining this understanding has many useful applications.

The tools used in modern-day materials science allow materials scientists not only to observe virtually every atom of any given material but to manipulate these atoms as well. Through this manipulation, scientists are able to produce hybrid materials with highly distinctive properties. Thanks to materials science, it is possible to fabricate high-temperature alloys, semiconductor and superconductor materials, nanomaterials, biomaterials and a whole range of other materials. This ability has fueled extraordinary biological and technological achievements.

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Though a field unto itself, materials science is considered an interdisciplinary field because it crosses into the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. Skyscrapers would not be possible without the work done in materials science. The integrated circuits that are used in desktop and laptop computers is made possible by work done in the field of materials science. With just about any modern day advancement, it’s possible to show how materials science played a significant role in its invention.

Technological innovation is often reliant upon not only the understanding of materials, but the availability of advanced materials. The field of material science fills this need. Materials science is not a new field of science by any stretch of the imagination. People have been studying materials for thousands of years, but to different degrees of depth. Whether it is makeup, jewelry, coins, weapons or anything else that has been invented, materials science has had a hand in all of it.

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