Everything we use in our daily lives is made of material or a combination of materials, including natural materials like wood, bone, straw, wool, cotton - and there is man-made materials like steel, pottery, plastic, semiconductors, concrete, textiles, paper. Materials science is an applied science concerned with the relationship between the structure and properties of materials and understanding existing materials so that new ones with desired properties can be designed.
Materials Scientists test the mechanical, physical, chemical and electrical properties of materials and explore how these properties depend on the microstructures they engineer and observe using high powered microscopes. Materials Engineers apply this knowledge to select the most appropriate material and manufacturing process for any given application, to predict how a component will perform in service, and to investigate how and why materials fail.
CLASSES OF MATERIALS
Materials science encompasses various classes of material, each of which may constitute a separate field. Materials are sometimes classified by the type of bonding present between the atoms:
1. Ionic crystals
2. Covalent crystals
8. Vitreous materials