Materials Engineer

Valuable minerals and materials such as coal, platinum, gold, diamonds, chrome, vanadium and titanium are available in the South African landscape. A wide range of products are produced from these minerals and materials, especially in the evolving technological revolution. To support sustainability, materials engineering comprises of the study and design of new materials made from natural or man-made materials.

Materials engineers plan and direct the engineering and commercial application of materials, manufacturing processes, products and related technologies. They evaluate the properties and structures of all materials and make recommendations for the most appropriate use. They can test a product’s quality and endurance, identify potential faults and develop solutions. Some can design processing plants and equipment to enable the manufacture of new materials.

Materials engineers can collaborate with plant designers and other engineering professionals in enabling the correct design and manufacture of new materials. They can work in research and development laboratories, office environments or in a supervisory role in production plants.

Skills

A deep knowledge of chemical and material properties is needed by materials engineers and an understanding of engineering modelling and design. Materials engineers will also benefit from:

  • Ability to conceptualise abstract ideas
  • Strong problem-solving ability
  • Excellent analytical competence
  • Good verbal and written communication and presentation skills

Tasks

Conduct and supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure quality

Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration

Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives

Analyse product failure data and test results

Studies

B.Sc.Eng. in Metallurgical Engineering at Wits

B.Eng. in Metallurgical Engineering at UP

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Metallurgical Engineer at TUT, UJ and VUT 

Employers

Research institutions.

Plastic, computer and electronic, ceramic, glass and steel product manufacturers.

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