Materials science encompasses four classes of materials, the study of each of which may be considered a separate field:
Materials science is often referred to as materials science and engineering because it has many applications. Industrial applications of materials science include processing techniques (casting, rolling, welding, ion implantation, crystal growth , thin-film deposition, sintering, glassblowing, etc.), analytical techniques (electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, calorimetry, nuclear microscopy (HEFIB) etc.), materials design, and cost/benefit tradeoffs in industrial production of materials.
Sub-fields of materials science
- Nanotechnology --- the creation and study of molecularly engineered materials (nanomaterials) with structures on the length scale of nanometers.
- Crystallography --- the study of the physics of crystals, including
- Metallurgy --- the study of metals
- Ceramics, which includes semiconductors and other electronic materials
- Biomaterials --- materials that can be used in the human body
- Tribology --- the study of the wear of materials due to friction and other factors
Note that some practitioners often consider rheology a sub-field of materials science, because it can cover any material that flows. However, a typical rheology paper covers non-Newtonian fluid dynamics, so we place it as a sub-field of Continuum mechanics. See also granular material.
Topics that Form the Basis of Materials Science
- Thermodynamics, for phase stability, phase transformations and phase diagrams.
- Thermal Analysis, Thermogravimetry, study changes in materials as function of combined temperature, time and interactions with gases.
- Kinetics, applied to the rates of phase transformations, thermal decomposition and diffusion.
- Solid-state chemistry --- the study of chemistry taking place within solids
- Solid-state physics --- usually considered the study of quantum effects in solid material, such as semiconduction or superconduction.
- Continuum mechanics --- the study of solids and fluids, assuming that they are continuous materials (rather than made of atoms).
- Timeline of materials technology
- Bio-based materials
- Liquid crystal
- Important publications in materials science