Materials Science

Career Objectives

Contribute to the creation of new materials and/or modifying the properties of the existing ones to obtain better products with them.

Professional Profile

Professional who knows and comprehends the scientific foundations of materials, their structure and properties.

He investigates the *atomic and *molecular structure of matter and finds its relation to the behavior of materials.

He carries out the chemical, structural, mechanical and electrical study in order to optimize those materials for a given application or finding new applications.

He addresses the field of traditional materials such as metals and their alloys such as steel, copper and aluminum, and the field of other materials and emergent technology such as plastic materials, *ceramic materials and *composite materials.

Materials Science has been crucial in the development of *semiconductor materials, from which *transistors are manufactured, which are the basis of technological applications of microelectronics.

Specific tasks or activities carried out in the profession

He conducts material research at atomic level to know their characteristics and behavior. For instance, graphite and diamond are made up solely of carbon, but their atoms have different ways of bonding and ordering, that is, they have a different structure.

Graphite is one of the softest materials, it is opaque, and it is a good lubricant in solid state and conducts electricity well; meanwhile the diamond is the hardest material that exists, it is transparent, very abrasive and a good electrical insulator.

He studies how solid materials respond to external forces such as tensile strength, fracture toughness, degree of elasticity, etc.

He investigates and experiments with matter to create new materials or modify the properties of the existing ones, for that, he studies their structure through the process of *synthesis, since no one can predict how atoms will be organized in the crystallization of a material, since there are many possibilities.

Once the structure is known, he modifies the *synthesis process by means of controlled compositions in order to improve or adapt the structure to the specific needs required by metallurgical engineers in the design of a certain product where a new material is needed.

The search for new materials progresses continuously. For example, mechanical engineers look for materials for high temperatures, so that jet engines can run more efficiently.

Electrical engineers strive to find new materials in order to make electronic devices operate in higher speeds and temperatures.

He classifies all the materials according to their properties and atomic structure. The categories are:

*Metals, *Ceramic Materials and *Polymers.

He selects the materials in relation to the purpose that they will be used and the conditions under which they will be used.

He develops research projects and development in the field of *metallic and non-metallic materials and used in the construction of machinery and equipment.

He directs and implements expertise and standardization activities.

He performs advisory and consultancy activities in the selection of materials for the design of machinery and tools.

Occupational Field

Departments of development, research, testing and / or control of materials of:

-*Mining/Metallurgy Industries

-*Metal/Mechanic Industry

-Companies of plastics, fibers, *polymers, conventional ceramic materials, *refractory materials and advanced ceramics.

-*Petrochemical Industries

-Chemical Industries

-Automotive, railway and transport industry in general.

-Production plants for thermal and nuclear energy.

-Automobile, aeronautics, shipbuilding or aerospace Industry.

-Research Centers or Institutions.

-Teaching and Research in universities and higher education institutions.

-Consultancy and free professional practice.

Estimated time of College years

5 years

Main courses considered in the syllabus

Basic Training Courses

Mathematics (5 semesters)

Physics (2 semesters) (Heat and waves; Electromagnetism)

Chemistry (2 semesters)

Professional Training Courses

-*Physical Chemistry

-*Quantum Physics

-*Mechanics of Materials (2 semesters)

-*Chemistry of Materials

-*Physics of Semiconductor Devices

-*Materials Characterization Techniques

-*Polymeric Materials

-*Composite and *Ceramic Materials

-*Metals and *Alloys

-Materials Processing

-Friction, Lubrication and Wear of Materials



Ceramic Materials

Complex Materials

Electronic Materials

Metallic Materials

Polymeric Materials

Vocation, Skills and Interests required in the candidate to this career 


-Special interest and curiosity for Inorganic Chemistry.

-Motivated by research and testing.

-Appreciation for scientific and technical knowledge.

-Interest in the application of technology.


-Analytical Capacity, that is, to decompose the object studied in its basic parts and then to see the relation between those parts.

-Ability for abstraction, which is, considering an object or phenomenon in its essence; or isolating each of its attributes mentally.

-Ability in the use of concepts and symbology.

- Inductive capacity, that is, reasoning from the facts of a phenomenon to reach the laws that govern it.

-Manual dexterity and fine motor skills.


-To study matter and thus open the horizons of human knowledge.

Candidate Personality



Methodical and rigorous at work


Work Scope

Work at Laboratories with instruments and chemical elements.

Related Careers

-Chemical Science, Physical Science, Metallurgical Engineering.

Glossary of Terms

*Alloys: They are metallic materials consisting of several mixed substances, in which one of them is a metal.

*Atomic Structure: How the atom of a material is formed; this structure allows us interpreting similarities and differences among the chemical properties of elements.

*Molecular Structure: It is the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms that comprise a molecule.

*Quantum Physics: It explains the behavior of matter, such as atoms, molecules and solids.

*Physics of Semiconductor Devices: It comprises the set of theories and models that explain the behavior of semiconductors under different conditions.

*Physical Chemistry: It is the branch of chemistry that studies molecular interactions in matter due to physical effects, such as temperature changes, pressure, volume, heat and work.

As well as the study of optical, electrical, magnetic and mechanical properties at atomic and molecular level, among others.

*Metal/Mechanic Industry: Industry focused on the creation of products from different types of materials.

*Mining/Metallurgy Industry: Mining industry devoted to the extraction of elements and minerals from which metals are obtained.

*Petrochemical Industry: Industry dedicated to the extraction of chemicals that are produced by fossil fuels. Examples of these substances are: methane, propane, butane, gasoline, etc.

*Ceramic Materials: Non-metallic materials that are formed by action of heat such as traditional clays used in pottery, bricks, tiles, as well as cement and glass, among other.

*Composite Materials: These are engineered materials, such as epoxy resins, polyester, acrylic, etc, which are combinations of different materials.

*Metallic Materials:*Metals: Materials characterized by being good conductors of heat and electricity.

Example: Stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, gold, silver, etc.

*Polymeric Materials: Organic Compounds made up by macromolecules, which are the bonding of smaller molecules called monomers. Example: Polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene.

Organic Compounds: Combinations of Carbon with the other elements of the Periodic Table.

*Refractory Materials: Materials that can withstand extremely high temperatures without losing its rigidity, such as ceramic materials.

*Mechanics of Materials: Study of the elastic deformations, dislocations, hardening, fracture and fatigue in materials and other different problems of change in the microstructure generated by external forces.

*Chemistry of Materials: It studies the chemical properties of substances, which are manifested in chemical reactions when chemical bonds between atoms are broken or formed, forming new substances different from the original ones with the same matter; this, unlike its physical properties, which are manifested in changes of state (solid, liquid, gaseous), in external forces applied to them, etc.

*Semiconductor: A substance that acts as a conductor or insulation depending on the temperature of the environment. The most used semiconductor element is Silicon, which is a basic material in the electronic industry.

*Synthesis: Chemical process with allows obtaining chemical compounds combining their components artificially in laboratory work.

*Materials Characterization Techniques: Study of the methods to determine the physical properties of solid materials, their electronic, thermal, mechanical, optical and magnetic properties.

*Transistor: The transistor is the fundamental device that is part of any circuit of any electronic appliance, such as: radios, televisions, recorders, audio and video players, microwaves, computers, washing machines, cars, refrigeration equipment, etc.