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Materials science

Materials science includes those parts of chemistry, physics, geology, and even biology that deal with the physical properties of materials. It is usually considered an applied science, in which the properties under study have some industrial purpose.

Materials science encompasses all classes of materials, the study of each of which may be considered a separate field: metals and metallurgy, ceramics, semiconductors and other electronic materials, polymers, and Biomaterials. Metallurgy and ceramics have long and separate histories as engineering disciplines, but because the science that underlies these disciplines applies to all classes of materials, materials science is recognized as a distinct discipline.

Materials science is related to materials engineering, which tends to focus on processing techniques (casting, rolling, welding, ion implantation, crystal growth, thin-film deposition, sintering, glassblowing, etc.), analytical techniques (electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, calorimetry, nuclear microscopy (HEFIB) etc.), materials design, and cost/benefit tradeoffs in industrial production of materials.

Core Topics in Materials Science:

Thermodynamics, for phase stability, phase transformations and phase diagrams.

Kinetics, applied to the rates of phase transformations and diffusion.

Crystallography and the use of diffraction techniques for phase identification.

Solid state chemistry, for understanding the synthesis, structure and phase relationships of solids

Solid-state mechanics, for understanding plastic deformation of solids and fracturing.

Solid-state physics, for understanding electrical properties of materials.

Defects in crystals, such as grain boundaries and dislocations, and their effects on physical properties.

See also: