About Illinois MatSE
MatSE at Illinois
Learn more about our department and our mission. We have a long-standing tradition of excellence dating back to the founding of the University of Illinois.
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Join our stand-out team of faculty and staff. You’ll help lead our top-ranked No. 2 undergraduate and No. 5 graduate programs.
What are Materials?
Materials are simply atoms joined together in the solid state. Materials science studies the fundamental physical and chemical basis for the controlled combination of atoms to form new compounds, phases, and microstructures, as well as the characterization of the resulting structures and properties. The great diversity of materials reflects the enormous variety in the strength and directionality of atomic bonding.
What is Materials Engineering?
Materials engineering focuses on the synthesis of materials in useful quantities, and on the processing of component materials into engineering products. Materials engineering draws heavily on the fundamental knowledge gained from materials science, and adapts the processes involved for the scale and requirements of the application. There is a rich interplay between the science and engineering aspects. Basic studies frequently find ways to improve the properties of materials, and goal-oriented engineering often reveals aspects of performance that challenge the basic understanding.
Why is it Important?
Innovations in materials science and engineering lead to improved materials and solutions to technological, societal, and environmental problems. Materials Science and Engineering is advancing biomaterials, ceramics, electronic materials, metals, and polymers that affect all engineering areas.