Material science, also referred to as material science and engineering, is an interdisciplinary field that covers the design and discovery of new materials, especially solids. The intellectual origins of material science begins during the Age of Enlightenment when researchers started to use the thought process of analytical thinking from chemistry, physics, and engineering to understand ancient, phenomenological observations in metallurgy and mineralogy.
Material science incorporates elements of physics, chemistry, and engineering. The field was long considered by academic institutions as a sub-field of these related fields. Beginning in the 1940s, material science began to be more recognized as a distinct and specific field of science and engineering, as well as major technical universities around the world created schools dedicated to it for its study.
Material scientists emphasize understanding how the history of a material influences its structure, and hence the properties of the material as well as the performance. The understanding of processing, structure, and properties of materials and the relationships between them is called the materials paradigm. This paradigm is made use of to advance understanding in a number of research areas, which include biomaterials, metallurgy, and nanotechnology.
Material science is also a vital part of forensic engineering and failure analysis, which mostly deals with things like investigating materials, structures, components, or products that fail or do not function as intended, which could, in turn, cause personal injury or damage to property. Such investigations are quintessential to understanding, for example, the causes of aviation accidents and incidents, and how they can be prevented in the future.
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