What Do Materials Scientists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Materials Scientists research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists. They also conduct research on the structures and properties of materials, such as metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones.

Other tasks include:

  • Prepare reports, manuscripts, proposals, and technical manuals for use by other scientists and requestors, such as sponsors and customers.
  • Perform experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.
  • Plan laboratory experiments to confirm feasibility of processes and techniques used in the production of materials with special characteristics.
  • Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Devise testing methods to evaluate the effects of various conditions on particular materials.

We asked Materials Scientists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

67%

How meaningful is this job

62%


67% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 62% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Materials Scientists conduct research on the structures and properties of materials, such as metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones. They perform experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.

  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications.
  • Plan laboratory experiments to confirm feasibility of processes and techniques used in the production of materials with special characteristics.
  • Test metals to determine conformance to specifications of mechanical strength, strength-weight ratio, ductility, magnetic and electrical properties, and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, heat, and cold.
  • Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.

We asked some Materials Scientists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?52% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?42% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?60% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?4% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?8% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Materials Scientists also confer with customers to determine how to tailor materials to their needs. They may also prepare reports, manuscripts, proposals, and technical manuals for use by other scientists and requestors, such as sponsors and customers.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Materials Scientists Test individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met. They might also Devise testing methods to evaluate the effects of various conditions on particular materials.

In addition, they Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Test material samples for tolerance under tension, compression, and shear to determine the cause of metal failures.

To some Materials Scientists, it is also their responsibility to Plan laboratory experiments to confirm feasibility of processes and techniques used in the production of materials with special characteristics.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Materials Scientist, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Materials Scientists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
79%


Once a week
13%


Do Materials Scientists work outdoors?

Never
60%


Once a year
33%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Builders

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Materials Scientists

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Related to Materials Scientists Job Description

Materials Scientists job description, what do Materials Scientists do, typical day for Materials Scientists, what is it like to work as a Materials Scientist, how many hours do Materials Scientists work, day to day work of a Materials Scientist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-scientists.htm
http://www.acs.org/
http://www.mrs.org/


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