Materials Scientist Career

Job Description: Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.


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Materials Scientist Career

What Materials Scientists do:

  • Conduct research on the structures and properties of materials, such as metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones.
  • Confer with customers to determine how to tailor materials to their needs.
  • Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications.
  • Prepare reports, manuscripts, proposals, and technical manuals for use by other scientists and requestors, such as sponsors and customers.
  • Devise testing methods to evaluate the effects of various conditions on particular materials.
  • Plan laboratory experiments to confirm feasibility of processes and techniques used in the production of materials with special characteristics.
  • Recommend materials for reliable performance in various environments.
  • Supervise and monitor production processes to ensure efficient use of equipment, timely changes to specifications, and project completion within time frame and budget.
  • Visit suppliers of materials or users of products to gather specific information.
  • Perform experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.
  • Write research papers for publication in scientific journals.
  • Test material samples for tolerance under tension, compression, and shear to determine the cause of metal failures.
  • Test metals to determine conformance to specifications of mechanical strength, strength-weight ratio, ductility, magnetic and electrical properties, and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, heat, and cold.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.
  • Test individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Holland Code Chart for a Materials Scientist