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Details for Materials Engineers


Description

Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.

Tasks

  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results in order to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians and other engineers and scientists.
  • Design and direct the testing and/or control of processing procedures.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products in order to ensure their quality.
  • Perform managerial functions such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear and aerospace.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
  • Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or non-metallic materials production operations.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Knowledge

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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