Are you telling me that in a world full of materials, materials engineering has no scope?

Being a materials engineering student, I often get to hear that you have got admission in the dustbin of the engineering university. Because this field has not had much time in the university and people don’t know about it – hence, they think it has nothing. I myself heard the name of this field for the first time a few days before the interview and being attracted to engineering I just jumped into it.

Materials engineering is one of the lowest merit fields in the university and that is the reason why only average students are admitted into it. I still remember the first day of our third semester when our teacher came to the class on the first day with us, he asked: why did you all choose to study materials? And the first answer he got was: Sir we chose this field due to low percentage.The whole class, including the teacher, burst into laughter thinking that even the students don’t know the worth of what are they studying.

Actually that moment was a bit embarrassing for all of us, because more than half of the class answered the same thing that we chose this field due to percentage issue. On the very first day of our first semester, one of our teachers asked the same question but answered it leaving all the students astonished. He asked, what is material? Why did you choose materials? But before listening to the students he answered his question himself saying: “I don’t think anyone had chosen this field by choice. I also chose it due to low percentage, otherwise I wanted chemical.”

Apart from this, something which is even more shocking is that in a class of approximately 40 students we have a few students securing A1 grades in intermediate, and yet studying materials. Even though they could have got admission in a better field or got transferred into another department because of good GPAs, but still they’re here. Maybe it’s because of their interest, or maybe they just knew the future of Materials – that how bright it is!

Many of the students who graduated as the first batch with the degree in Materials from the university are employed as our teachers, others may be working in industries. They had to face many problems due to unfamiliar name of the field – problems in employment, studies and in practical life explaining people the need of a material engineer in the industry. The same problem is still being faced by some seniors who just graduated.But drop by drop, bit by bit, the graduates have got the ball rolling and are making the way smooth for us and the upcoming juniors.

Nano. The word might not be familiar to you but today nanotechnology has brought revolution in the world.Nanotechnology has indulged into our lives since long but we were not aware of it. From cleaning purposes to security, gardening to luxuries, food to medicine, advanced technology to daily household – nanotechnology is everywhere. The major use of nanotechnology is in medicine, as it is used for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Nanoparticles are employed to drug medicine only to the concerned cells so that the healthy cells are not affected.

Apart from that, special types of plants called ‘Bionic Plants’are also under development in which carbon nanotubes are inserted in the chloroplast which makes it a sensor and detects the impurities and pollutants in the air. It also makes the plant absorb 30% more sunlight than before, which makes the process of photosynthesis faster.

A special type of spray is developed by a designer which is used to make fabric through spraying the suspension on the body. When the liquid is sprayed on the body the solvent evaporates and it hardens, resulting in the formation of a fabric which can be used for summers as well as winter, depending upon how many layers you have sprayed. It can be washed and dried like normal fabrics.Sounds interesting, right?

It has a wide use in hydrophobicity as well. Nanostructures are coated on the surface of leaves or flowers which prevent it from water and dirt. This property is very useful in self-cleaning purpose. It has multiple applications like socks, shoes, gloves, glass etc. You can jump into dirt wearing a pair of these shoes, but they won’t get dirty. ‘Aerogel’ is a type of water repellent; it can be coated on the mobile screens by treating it with nanoparticles in a vacuum which makes it water repulsive –this is due to the same formula.

Quite enough about nano materials; let’s have a quick review about smart materials as well. These are materials which have properties that respond to the surrounding by a change in their physical, thermal, magnetic or thermal properties. You can see cups changing their color by pouring hot or cold water inside, jackets being shrunk by using a blow dryer and returning to the original length on cooling(wires are used inside which respond to heat), ferro fluid which reacts to magnetic fields and the electrochromic glass which uses electricity to turn opaque glass into transparent. It can help you choose privacy or to get shade in the car. Not only these, there are more smarted materials which are being developed in a useful way.

Let’s also have a look at the materials compatible in human body known as ‘Bio Materials’. Internationally, these materials are raising places. An international scientist has been working on a material which can be implanted in human body to repair and heal tissues. They are trying to develop it in a way that its healing power is as good as that of natural tissues. Artificial bones which are inserted in body are prevented to be corroded by the liquid.Titanium biomaterials are being used to patch up fracture in the body.

Other materials like polymers, ceramics, refractories and composites are also under research and have wide scope in the world.

All in all, I would like to say that the students should have some extra knowledge apart from their course. Usually in our society, the majority of the students run after grades and marks, unconcerned with their future and application of what they are studying. I, myself, being an average student am not much familiar with this field even now, despite having spent quite a lot of time in it. This is because we usually focus on the course outline rather than its usage.

So it is a request to all the students that apart from sharing books and PDFs which we all read just for scores and exam preparation, share something related to your discipline, your subject of interest, related to your field. Know and let others know what you are studying and how much scope it has in the future world. It is strange that in the present world people are unaware of materials science and underestimate its students by degrading them because of their previous academic results. That’s because they don’t know about the field –if they had known,nobody would ever have said anything remotely like this.

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1 Comment

  1. Muhammad Ahmad says

    I think due to lack of awareness people do have such an opinion about any major. But, this is the question of interest, if someone develop his/her interest in materials, then, he/she should continue good work in it. Ultimately, people have to earn also, so they opt for the majors which also have market for absorption of graduates. By the way I am also the electrical engineer, and have no interest to work for industry, so still long way to go, to reach where i wanted to be.

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