9: School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science

General Information | Degree Programs | Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Programs in Applied Mathematics | Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering | Department of Civil Engineering
Department of Computer Science | Department of Electrical Engineering
Engineering Physics Program | Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering | Department of Systems Engineering

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

This department offers graduate education and research programs in the structure, properties, processing, and performance of materials. The study of materials may be pursued according to their technical importance, as in ceramic or metallurgical engineering, or by considering the general principles that govern their properties. At the University of Virginia, the latter course has been adopted, leading to an understanding of materials through the study of both macroscopic and microscopic viewpoints.

The department provides a broad-based graduate education in materials, one component of which emphasizes the commonality among the various classes of engineering solids. Thus thermodynamics, kinetics, structural analysis and crystallography, defect theory, and principles of the solid state are strong features of our program. In addition, other courses relative to the application of materials and the relationships among materials properties, structure and the manner in which materials have been processed are also offered. Extensive research programs complement formal course work. Active recent programs on polymers, environmental effects on material behavior, electronic materials, fatigue and fracture, tribology, composite materials, and materials processing reflect the diversity of the faculty’s research interests. In addition, the department houses the Center for Light Metals, which oversees a variety of research on AI, Mg and Ti alloys and composites containing these metals. The Center for Electrochemical Sciences and Engineering, a VCIT center conducts interdisciplinary research involving five departments. The Surface Science Laboratory conducts fundamental studies of the surfaces of materials and provides surface analysis services.

The graduate program consists of regular graduate courses and thesis research. While a few courses are considered fundamental, there is still great flexibility in allowing a student to adapt his or her choice of classes according to his or her particular field of interest and specialization. Major emphasis is placed on acquisition of knowledge and development of critical thinking skills by the student, rather than on passing a certain number of courses.

Degrees offered in materials science and engineering are the Master, the Master of Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering. The Master of Materials Science and Engineering degree was designed to complement the M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees because it fills a definite need not satisfied by the traditional master’s and doctoral degrees. The course requirement for the M.M.S.E. degree is satisfactory completion of 30 credits, compared to 24 for the M.S. degree. The M.M.S.E. does not require a research thesis.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering participates in the Virginia Cooperative Graduate Engineering Program, and presents on televised graduate-level courses leading to the Master of Materials Science and Engineering degree. These courses are broadcast via satellite to locations both in- and out- of-state in the late afternoon and early evening hours. Additional information about this program can be found elsewhere in this catalog.

Department laboratories are well equipped with extensive instrumentation for the investigation of all aspects of materials structure and properties. A modern electron microscope facility is available which includes: (1) a 200 kV field-emission gun (FEG) high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) equipped with a Gatan imaging filter (GIF) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDXS); (2) a 400 kV dedicated HRTEM with a point-to-point resolution of 0.17 nm; (3) a 200 kV scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with EDXS and heating, cooling and straining specimen holders; (4) two scanning electron microscopes with EDXS, a wavelength-dispersive spectrometer (WDS) and electron backscattered pattern (EBSP) apparatus; and (5) a focused ion beam (FIB) microscope equipped with a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS). The microscopes are all connected to computers for digital imaging and analysis. X-ray diffraction units are available which provide facilities for a wide variety of single crystal and powder techniques. The polymer science laboratory offers facilities for infrared spectroscopy, viscosity, differential thermal analysis, automatic osmometry, and for the measurement of thermal, electrical, and optical properties of polymers and other macromolecules. Chemical vapor deposition facilities include new equipment for the preparation of electronic materials from metal-organic compounds. The ion beam laboratory has a 110 kV heavy ion accelerator and a 300 kV ion implanter, with multiple ultrahigh vacuum experimental chambers.

Other laboratories are equipped for research in physical metallurgy, fatigue and fracture, electrochemistry, surface studies, thin film properties, and materials processing. Their facilities include mass spectrometers; ultra-high vacuum deposition units; electron beam and vacuum furnaces; heat treating equipment; a rolling mill; numerous mechanical testing machines; a hot isostatic press; an X-ray texture gonimeter; optical metallographs; interference, polarizing, and hot stage microscopes; and sophisticated image analysis and processing facilities. A fully equipped machine shop and instrument shop are adjacent to the research laboratories.

Computational facilities within the department include a variety of workstations, (SUN, DEC, SGI, and IBM) and personal computers. Access to high performance computing is available through the University’s affiliations with National Computing Centers, and on the University’s 14-node IBM SP2 system housed in the Department of Information Technology and Communication (ITC) as described in the Facilities and Services section at the beginning of this chapter.

Areas of study include: metallic, polymeric, ceramic, and composite materials; electronic materials; electrochemical sciences and engineering; materials processing; light metals; structural analysis, and ion-solid interactions.


Continue to: Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering
Return to: Chapter 9 Index