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 engineers 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. Includes metallurgists and metallurgical engineers, ceramic engineers, and welding engineers.

Tasks

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

Knowledge

Philosophy and Theology
Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Skills

Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Gross Body Coordination
The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Extent Flexibility
The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Stamina
The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Dynamic Strength
The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Speed of Limb Movement
The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.

Interests

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.
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.
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.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Automation Engineer
Automotive Sheet Metal Engineer
Ceramic Design Engineer
Ceramic Engineer
Ceramic Research Engineer
Ceramics Test Engineer
Corrosion Engineer
Design Engineer
Extractive Metallurgist
Failure Analysis Technician
Foundry Metallurgist
Foundry Process Engineer
Manufacturing Engineer
Material Analyst
Materials and Processes Manager
Materials Branch Chief
Materials Development Engineer
Materials Engineer
Materials Engineering Superintendent
Materials Research Engineer
Materials Specialist
Metallographer
Metallurgical Engineer
Metallurgical Specialist
Metallurgist
Nanotechnologist
Physical Metallurgist
Plating Engineer
Process Engineer
Refining Engineer
Research Assistant
Research Engineer
Smelting Engineer
Stress Engineer
Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
Test Engineer
Testing Engineer
Validation Engineer
Validation Specialist
Welding Engineer

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$40.94 hourly, $85,150 annual.
Employment (2008):
22,740 employees