What do you think will be the greatest, coolest invention of this century? Many of the greatest scientists and technologists believe that this will be in the field of Materials research: "of new materials that have amazing properties,” and what’s more, “are capable of changing themselves to suit their requirements.” Though we know of an amazing array of materials, there are only four basic ones--Polymers, Ceramics, Metals, and Composites. What's more, the million materials that we know of are made roughly from 30 chemical elements!
What are materials? How is it that we get such a variety of materials--both natural and man made? Can we actually design a material with a specific property? [Can we make Flubber, for example?] The task of a Materials Engineer is to manufacture materials with specific properties that are needed to solve challenging and interesting problems.
In fact, a revolution is taking place in the laboratories of the world--new materials with fascinating properties are being discovered every day. In addition, old materials have been found to have amazing new strengths--metals that do not rust, foam that can repair itself, and powdered bananas have already been found! Scientists at NASA use special nitride ceramics that can be touched with our bare hands even though they could be at a searing 3000 Celsius! New titanium nanocomposite alloys are lighter than steel, but ten times as strong: "an airplane made of this material will consume ten times less fuel!” Did you know that in the near future, we might be near to building an elevator to space!
Our times are witnessing a drastic change. Understanding how materials work, what gives materials the properties that they have, and how wonderful, new materials can be synthesized will form one of the major focuses of science and engineering in the coming years. This course lays the groundwork for such an understanding, awakening the student to the possibility of this new world and the fundamentals that form this fascinating branch of Engineering.
We will cover the basics of this field: the types of materials, crystal structure, property-structure relationships, traditional materials, modern materials, nanomaterials and the application of nanotechnology to materials science. We will also cover the four basic types of materials--polymers, metals, ceramics, and composites--as well as the ultra modern materials--semiconductors, space technology materials, high performance devices, and super strong composites. There are many more of surprises ahead in store for us as we head into this truly magical world of Materials.
Prerequisites: Only basic high school science and math is required. Everything else that is required will be taught in the class. What is expected of the student is a good analytical mind, excellent imagination and a keen desire to learn.
Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.Visit Program Page Learn How to Apply