The interdisciplinary field of materials science, also commonly termed materials science and engineering, covers the design and discovery of new materials, particularly solids. Materials science and engineering (MSE) study the ways in which atoms and molecules can be built into solid materials and how the structural arrangement of the atoms in a material governs its properties. MSE combines engineering, physics, and chemistry principles to solve real-world problems associated with nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, energy, sustainability, manufacturing, and other major engineering disciplines. Materials engineers and materials scientists are continually in high demand by industry and government for jobs in research, development, production, and management. They find a diversity of challenging opportunities in industries related to energy, the environment, electronics, aerospace, consumer products, biomaterials, and medicine, as well as in national laboratories, consulting, and entrepreneurship.
MSE is fundamental to all other science and engineering disciplines. Materials science is a highly active area of research. Together with materials science departments, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and many Engineering disciplines are involved in materials research. Materials research covers a broad range of topics. A few important research areas include:
Polymers: Synthesis of polymers, structure-property correlation in polymers, rheology and processing of polymers, functional and smart elastomeric materials, polymer matrix composites, tribology and mechanical behavior of polymers, 3D printing of functional elastomeric/polymeric materials, membranes for various applications, antifouling, and anti-biofouling materials and membranes, redox polymers, materials for energy storage, separation and purification, organic-inorganic hybrid materials, catalytic materials and nanomaterials for catalysis and environmental applications, 2D materials, graphene, Covalent organic frameworks, biodegradable materials, organically modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles, surface engineering using controlled radical polymerization techniques.
Metals and Alloys: Structure-property correlation in advanced materials, Fracture and Fatigue, Indentation, nano-scale friction and wear, Material characterization using advanced microscopy, phase transformations, solid-state diffusion-controlled reactions, Synthesis and characterization of metal matrix composites, Light metals and alloys, 3D printed metals and alloys, Auxetic materials, Bulk metallic glasses and composites, functionally graded materials, nanomaterials, Advanced ceramics, high entropy alloys, materials for extreme environments, thermal barrier coatings, alloy processing and properties, refractory metals and compounds, aluminide bond coats.
Biomaterials & Devices: Fracture, fatigue and tribology, Nano-structured coatings, Damage tolerance of materials, Microstructural characterization, Bio-medical implants, prosthetics and polymer encapsulation, Flexible and Stretchable electronics
Ceramics and Glasses: Nanomaterials, Magnetic materials, Nano-biotechnology, Photomagnetism, Electronic ceramics, Powder Processing, Shape Forming of Ceramics, Rheology of inks, pastes, Electronic, Magnetic and Thermal Properties of Materials, Corrosion, Solar cells
Functional Materials: Semiconductor nanostructures and device applications, magnetic nanowires and magnetic tunnel junctions for spintronics device applications, MEMS/NEMS devices, solar cell, organic electronics Thermoelectric materials, materials for energy harvesting
Computational Material Science: First-principles-based materials design, micromagnetic simulations, computational materials chemistry, molecular modeling, and simulations of soft materials (self-assemblies, (bio)polymers, nanomaterials), machine learning for materials informatics.
Research opportunities at IITs
Indian Institutes of Technology are globally recognized as premier institutions for science and engineering education and research. They have vibrant research culture, top faculty, and tie-ups with leading academic institutions worldwide, making them the best place to study material science and engineering.
IIT Delhi: The MSE department of IIT Delhi is inherently an interdisciplinary Department that draws from practitioners in all application areas, as well as the study of fundamentals of materials science. The focus of research and development activities of the Department is towards the rational design of materials and processes, engineering of desired material structure and properties, fabrication and synthetic process development, integration of materials in devices, characterization of materials and devices, and development of prototypes. The department is further aiming for emphasis on areas such as design and modeling of materials and processes, which is also classified as Integrated Computational Materials Engineering, development of novel materials manufacturing methods, and process development such as additive manufacturing, which are next-generation processing methodologies designed to reduce the waste generation, and for efficiency improvement. The Department MSE, named in keeping with a worldwide and nationwide practice, contains a Center for Excellence in Polymer Science Engineering (CoE-PSE) in due recognition of the historical brand strength of the polymers program at IIT Delhi.
Other IITs: The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee; Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science at IIT Bombay; Materials Science & Engineering at IIT Kanpur; and other IITs have outstanding teaching and research programs in materials science and engineering.
In addition to the MSE departments at these IITs, various other departments, such as Chemistry, Physics, Applied Mechanics, Civil & Mechanical Engineering, and different schools/centers at IITs also offer research programs in materials science and engineering.