Materials Science


Career Description

Even the most innovative design can’t live up to its potential if it’s not made out of the right stuff. As a materials scientist or engineer, your job might be to create biocompatible glass that helps to heal broken bones, produce battery materials that will allow electric cars to travel for hundreds of miles on a single charge, or diagnose the cause of failure when a steel bridge collapses. The right materials can have revolutionary results—the telecommunications industry, for example, was transformed when fiber optics replaced copper wires; medicine took a giant leap with the development of biomaterials and tissue engineering, which are now used to heal diseased and damaged parts of the body; and automobile efficiency and safety have seen great leaps forward thanks to new grades of high-strength steel.

Salary

Median
$91,310
Lowest
$53,120
Highest
$144,720

Projects

Invent methods for making “smart temporary tattoos” that act as wearable sensors to monitor nerve and muscle activity
Discover new materials for storing massive amounts of information on computer disks
Enhance the handling ability of skis and snowboards with more flexible materials
Produce transparent super-insulating windows to keep homes and businesses more comfortable and to save energy
Design more reliable composite materials for making enormous wind turbine blades
Study how abalone shells and armored fish scales work to figure out new ways to design extremely damage-resistant materials
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