- Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
- Determine causes of product failure and develop solutions
- Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
- Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
- Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products
- Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and do other managerial tasks
- Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with others as necessary
Materials engineers create and study materials at an atomic level. They use computers to replicate the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace engineering.
Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are types of materials engineers:
Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.
Composites engineers work in developing materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.
Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.
Plastics engineers work in developing and testing new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.
Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing and related applications.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition