82.9 Materials Engineering
Materials Engineering is the discipline in Engineering in which materials are engineered and designed for their function in society. This is done by selecting the scale of the material from molecular or atomic, to nano, micro and macro and by choosing the class of material from soft to hard to composites while integrating this knowledge through the processing, structure, properties and performance of materials. It is concerned with the production and engineering applications of metallic and non-metallic materials (polymers, ceramics, composites, electronic materials and biomaterials). Materials engineers develop, modify, and use processes to convert raw materials to useful engineering materials with specified desirable properties. The discipline therefore includes aspects of materials production, materials processing and materials applications and design. Materials engineering embraces physics, chemistry and mechanics to understand processing and applications of materials. Graduates of the program find employment in all sectors of the materials cycle. The primary sector is raw materials processing and includes such industries as mineral processing, aluminium smelting and steel making. The next sector is manufacturing and extends from the rolling of the metals to the materials aspects of manufacturing various engineered products in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, photonics, and petrochemical industries. The final sector includes the service industries with such specialities as corrosion, wear, fracture mechanics and failure investigation. This sector would also include the recycling industries.
The undergraduate Materials Engineering program, the only one of its kind in the prairie provinces, includes a set of core materials engineering courses emphasizing underlying principles and their engineering applications. With the program electives it is possible for the students to go into more depth in particular areas of interest, e.g., biomaterials, functional materials, mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, polymer materials and structural materials.
82.9.1 Biomedical Option in Materials Engineering
The utilization of novel materials for biomedical purposes has been finding increased acceptance. Novel materials specifically engineered for medical performance provide unique solutions to biomedical problems. Utilizing novel metallic alloys, molecularly designed polymers, and tailored composites has enabled significant progress in health care and medical diagnostics. The Biomedical Option retains all of the core courses of the Materials Engineering program. It then adds courses specific to the biomedical sciences to provide students with the necessary background for employment in the biomedical field. Enrolment is limited.
82.9.2 Nano and Functional Materials Option
All nanotechnological developments are built on two things, either they involve materials with dimensions in the nanometer scale (nanomaterials), and/or they involve structures with dimensions in the nanometer scale (nanostructures). At nanometre scale the structure-property relationships in materials tend to change, i.e., the properties of these materials depend on the dimensions of the materials and quantum mechanical effects start to dominate. Since the Materials Engineering program is focused on the processing and manufacturing of materials and the materials’ structure-property relationships, Materials Engineering is a natural home for nanotechnology, thus the Nano and Functional Materials Option in the Materials Engineering program.
Students entering this option will be exposed to the exciting and emerging field of nano and functional materials. Subject areas covered include electronic, optical and magnetic materials, nanomaterials and their applications, nanostructured molecular sieves, nano and functional materials processing and fabrication. Employment opportunities exist in several sectors of Canadian industry, such as microelectronic/optoelectronic device fabrication, MEMS processing and fuel cell development.
82.9.3 Elective Streams in Materials Engineering
Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy: Metallic and non-metallic materials such as gold, copper, iron (steel) and ceramics are extracted from mineral resources. Mineral processing and extractive metallurgy is therefore an integral part of materials engineering and an important engineering field that contributes to Canada’s economy. The Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy elective stream will introduce students to the fundamental theories of mineral processing, hydrometallurgy, electrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy, and current practices of unit operations of these processes. The graduates from this elective stream will be able to find employment in Canadian resource sectors, especially in oil sands, coal, base metal, precious metal, potash and diamond ore processing industries. The recommended courses for this elective stream are CME 421 to be taken in Term 7 (Term 6 for Co-op students), CME 422 and 472 in Term 8. It is also recommended that students take either MAT E 470 or CH E 446 as the fourth program elective.
Polymer Materials: The polymer materials elective stream is designed for students who are interested in acquiring a basic knowledge in the field of polymers: structure-property relationships, polymerization reactions and polymer processing so that upon completion of the option, they will have the knowledge to embark on graduate level research in polymer science and engineering and will be employable by polymer manufacturers and polymer processing industry. The recommended courses for this elective stream are CH E 345 and CME 482 to be taken in Term 7 (Term 6 for Co-op students), CME 484 and 485 in Term 8.
Structural Materials: Students completing this elective stream will be proficient in the traditional areas of metallurgical and materials engineering, i.e., physical metallurgy and materials processing. Employment opportunities exist in several sectors of Canadian industry including, but not restricted to, primary metal extraction, steel processing, oil and gas, automotive and consulting. The recommended courses for this elective stream are MAT E 470 to be taken in Term 7 (Term 6 for Co-op students), CME 472, MAT E 473 and 474 in Term 8. Students interested in this elective stream will need to take the ITS Elective in either Term 6 (Co-op students) or Term 7 (traditional students) to make room for the extra program elective in Term 8.