For FYEs’ Consideration: Materials Engineering

This is another installment of our “For FYEs’ Consideration” series, where we introduce first-year engineers to the different engineering disciplines at Purdue. Today, we feature Materials Engineering. 

thumbnail_materialsEngineeringMaterials engineers combine physics, chemistry, and engineering to develop new materials. Materials engineering at Purdue began as an option in metallurgy for students in the School of Chemical Engineering; in 1959 the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering split into two separate schools. The School of Metallurgical Engineering became what is today known as the School of Materials Science and Engineering. Graduates from Purdue’s materials program hathumbnail_material_engineering_small_picve gone on to work in industry, government, and other schools.

Many of the classes that materials science and engineering (MSE) students take focus on the properties and processing of materials. Students will take classes such as Structure and Properties of Materials Engineering, Materials Processing Laboratory, and Mechanical Response of Materials. Because chemistry plays a major role in MSE, students also take chemistry classes such as organic chemistry.
thumbnail_material-engineeringMSE students at Purdue have fantastic opportunities to get involved. They can join the Materials Research Society, the American Ceramic Society, and several other clubs specifically for students studying materials engineering. Study abroad is an amazing opportunity open to MSE students. Recently, MSE students have studied abroad in Spain, Japan, Germany, and Australia. MSE students also have the opportunity to participate in research, including research in areas such as microstructure and composition, mechanical and thermal properties, and physical properties.

After they graduate, most MSE students go on to work in industry. Materials engineers often work in areas such as research and development, where they study the properties of certain materials and develop new materials. Many materials engineers specialize in a certain type of material, such as metals, ceramics, or plastics. Students who wish to earn a graduate degree in MSE can do so at Purdue.

-Bailey Hayes


Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Lane

This is part of an ongoing series showcasing the PSWE alumni. Today, we feature Ashley Lane, who graduated from Purdue with a materials engineering degree. She now works at TimkenSteel Corporation. 

“1. Where do you work, and for how long have you worked there?

I am a materials engineer/metallurgist in supply chain and design engineering at the TimkenSteel Corporation working with new steel grades, determining various capabilities (chemistry, heat treat/properties, etc.) and doing various project work. I am approaching my 5 year anniversary this May.

2. What did you major in at Purdue, and why?

I earned my degree in Materials Engineering (MSE). Materials science and engineering is constantly producing opportunities to push the bounds of what we think is possible. I was drawn to how MSE combines the microscopic level (through structure and chemistry) and the macroscopic level (through processing and applications). I also knew that my major would open doors for me regardless of where I wanted my career to go.

3. Besides PSWE, what organizations were you a part of?

Society of Material Science Engineers, Emerging Leaders Program (ELPS), Women in Engineering Program (WIEP), Purdue Opportunity Awards, Purdue Debris and Yearbook, Women and Leadership Conference Student Committee, Material Advantage (Provides membership to 4 international material societies)

4. What do you like and dislike about your job?

I like that everyday is a bit different than the one before, and there is always a new challenge to tackle. I also enjoy being able to teach others what I have learned. My job has given me the flexibility to do that both in my current position and in volunteer work I do with students.

5. How do you balance your work and personal life?

This is an issue that everyone constantly struggles with as work-life balance looks different for everyone. Knowing your “non-negotiables” or things that you are not willing to give up is key. Depending on where a person is in their lives, a person will spend more time working, while other times they will spend more time with family. I also find organization and planning keeps me on track, while also ensuring I do not overwhelm myself.”

-Subhiksha, your editor