RECOMMENDATIONS—AN AGENDA FOR ACTION

In the course of its study, COSMAT has found that the concept of a materials cycle offers a comprehensive framework for considering directions of action on national materials issues, particularly as they relate to materials science and engineering. In that context we have encountered several recurring themes:

  • Materials, energy, and the environment are parts of the same vast system; policies and programs that deal with one will falter unless they take full account of the other two on the same level and against the backdrop of the materials cycle.

  • Materials science and engineering will play a pivotal role in managing and conserving this country’s material, energy, and environmental resources, presenting as it does a total body of science and engineering that can be invoked in a sophisticated—perhaps unprecedented— manner to help solve societal problems.

  • Interdisciplinary research has become essential to progress in complex fields like materials, the environmental sciences, and medicine, but the universities generally harbor some resistance to interdisciplinarity going well beyond that needed to preserve the separate, and indispensable, scientific and engineering disciplines.

  • Materials science and engineering displays an unusually close and continuous linkage between basic research and ultimate applications, together with a combination of



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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering RECOMMENDATIONS—AN AGENDA FOR ACTION In the course of its study, COSMAT has found that the concept of a materials cycle offers a comprehensive framework for considering directions of action on national materials issues, particularly as they relate to materials science and engineering. In that context we have encountered several recurring themes: Materials, energy, and the environment are parts of the same vast system; policies and programs that deal with one will falter unless they take full account of the other two on the same level and against the backdrop of the materials cycle. Materials science and engineering will play a pivotal role in managing and conserving this country’s material, energy, and environmental resources, presenting as it does a total body of science and engineering that can be invoked in a sophisticated—perhaps unprecedented— manner to help solve societal problems. Interdisciplinary research has become essential to progress in complex fields like materials, the environmental sciences, and medicine, but the universities generally harbor some resistance to interdisciplinarity going well beyond that needed to preserve the separate, and indispensable, scientific and engineering disciplines. Materials science and engineering displays an unusually close and continuous linkage between basic research and ultimate applications, together with a combination of

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering responsiveness and creativeness that holds strong potential for upgrading technologies regarded as socially and economically important Advances in materials and related fields feed on bodies of knowledge that require steady replenishment by research and development, suitably funded and carefully balanced between the basic and the applied. The 24 recommendations that follow, we believe, propose realistic actions consistent with these themes. The Recommendations fall naturally into five groups, depending on the emphasis of the action proposed: technical, governmental, industrial, academic, and professional. The sequence of the Recommendations should not be construed as rank ordering in any sense. Recommendations for Technical Action Materials Research and Development Required for Progress in Energy Technology The pressing demand for energy in this country is creating problems that simply cannot be solved without skillful exploitation of materials science and engineering. We must learn to generate, transmit, store, and use energy more efficiently and within appropriate environmental constraints. All too often, it seems that the developers of new technologies have counted heavily on the expectation that improved materials would somehow be discovered as needed. This risk is too great to take in the energy field. Inadequate materials hamper our current fossil- and nuclear-fuel technologies; and lacking new or

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering sharply improved materials, some advanced energy systems may never be reduced to practice. Federal leadership is essential for the coordinated development of energy technologies, but industry, despite the pressures of short-term economic survival, can do much to help solve the related long-range materials problems. 1 Energy IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT both government and industry define clearly, and ensure that close attention is being given to, those areas of materials research and development likely to be critical for significant progress in methods of generating, transmitting, storing, and using energy. This recommendation should be implemented in the federal government by the highest-ranking office concerned with energy policy. In industry, action should be pressed by organizations like the new Electric Power Research Institute. Upgraded materials are required for high-temperature gas turbines, for breeder reactors, for magnetohydrodynamic generators, for energy-storage devices, and for superconductor technology. The unique advantages of solar energy warrant coordinated attack on the pertinent materials problems, with adequate long-term funding by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. Electric power from nuclear fusion is not a certainty, but pending a demonstration of technical feasibility, the presumed materials demands of the process should be studied critically to minimize the possibility that they may become the limiting factor. Such materials problems, together with those currently inhibiting the nuclear-fission technologies, should

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering receive sustained attention from the Atomic Energy Commission. (Pages 70–76) Materials Expertise in Environmental Management A large fraction of man-made pollution results from activities involving materials (even excluding foods and fossil fuels, as we do here). It follows that we can solve many environmental problems by moving materials through the materials cycle more carefully. The consequent job for materials science and engineering—meshed closely in practice, with product design—is to discover and develop materials and processes that ease the pressures on the environment without corresponding sacrifice in function and cost. This approach, which cuts across an unusually wide range of disciplines, social as well as technical, is invoked somewhat today, but hardly to the degree that is possible and necessary. For the most part, the materials community is not yet oriented toward the complex issues of environmental systems. Moreover, those concerned with such questions may not have fully appreciated the potential of materials science and engineering in these matters. 2 Environment IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the interdisciplinary capabilities of materials science and engineering be applied more intensively along a broad front on materials-related environmental problems, with emphasis on the materials cycle and its energy and environmental subcycles.

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering This recommendation should be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency, and should also be heeded by industry and the universities. Elements of a systems approach to environmental quality, in which strong participation of the materials community is vital, pertain not simply to products, but also to materials development, selection, and processing; discovery of substitute materials and functional alternatives; product design and manufacture; product/environment interaction; materials reclamation and disposal; and instrumentation for pollution monitoring and control. The Environmental Protection Agency might find unusual opportunities for pursuing such topics in existing federal laboratories, as in Recommendation 12. (Pages 12–13, 41, 43, 56–63, 86–89) Materials Emphasis in Goal-Oriented Research Potential scarcities of certain materials, the country’s current shift in technological emphasis toward civilian-oriented goals, and recent trends in consumer and environmental legislation, all combine to raise unprecedented and challenging materials-related questions, The results of COSMAT’s priority analysis show, among other things, that in some areas significant progress will occur only if materials research can surmount major roadblocks; in other areas, materials research can move us ahead markedly even when materials may not be limiting factors.

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering 3 Goal-Oriented Research IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT organizations, including government, that support or perform goal-oriented research, especially in civilian-directed areas, ensure that work on end products is accompanied by adequately-supported research on related problems in materials including, where appropriate, special attention to the development of substitutes based on the more abundant materials. The topics of highest priority in goal-oriented materials research established by our analysis are summarized according to areas of national impact in Table 14. (Pages 54–96) Applied Materials Research of Broad Implication The nation’s civilian technologies and still-significant progress in defense and space depend for success on sustained, strong efforts in applied research on materials. It is critical that such research include work in certain materials areas of broad implication, namely, those spanning a range of missions or end uses, and so can be regarded as generic. Because this type of research often lies between basic and mission-directed research, it runs the risk of receiving inadequate support. In these areas—such as corrosion, testing and characterization, and toxicity—what is wanted is widely-applicable knowledge and methods, rather than one-shot empirical solutions to individual difficulties. It appears, therefore, that many of the

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering problems we have in mind can be investigated fruitfully by scientists trained originally in basic research. 4 Generic Applied Research IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT investigators in the fundamental aspects of materials, particularly at universities, exercise initiative in identifying and pursuing opportunities in generic applied research on materials, and that they recognize the importance of such research in maintaining the vitality of materials research and development. (See Recommendation 10.) Priorities in generic applied materials research where specialized knowledge would certainly prove useful appear in Table 16. From the industrial standpoint, the action recommended could be advanced by cooperative funding of programs in universities, research institutes, and independent laboratories. For federal agencies that support materials research and development, the generic applied work discussed here is an essential element in establishing properly balanced programs. (Pages 97–102, 106–134) Research on Fundamental Properties of Materials The vitality of materials science and engineering also depends on sustained basic research to advance the fundamental understanding that allows the behavior of electrons, atoms, and molecules to be related to the world of product function and performance. It is

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering essential that we add steadily to the reservoir of new basic knowledge on materials, a reservoir to be tapped eventually in ways that cannot now be foreseen. Our predictive ability is relatively good for elemental and single-crystal materials, particularly those with potentially useful electronic properties, though many questions remain. For the multitude of more complex materials, however, we have made only the barest beginnings toward developing the necessary fundamental concepts. 5 Research on Fundamental Properties IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT federal agencies and industries that perform or support basic research on materials phenomena encourage adequate attention to studies of relatively simple (model) solids while, at the same time, placing increasing emphasis on materials which are more complex in composition and structure. This recommendation is directed primarily to the National Science Foundation and the mission-oriented federal agencies that support basic research. The focus proposed, however, is appropriate also for companies where management is receptive to the prospect of longer-term payoff. Promising topics for basic research include: interatomic forces, chemical bonding, and lattice stability; microscopic mechanisms of phase transitions; the amorphous, disordered state of matter; impurity and defect phenomena in solids; surfaces; one- and two-dimensional systems (e.g., linear molecules and interfaces, respectively); structure-property relationships in polymers; collective behavior of excited systems of atoms and electrons; and the dynamics of nonequilibrium systems. (Pages 97, 103–104, 134–153)

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering Renewable Resources as a Raw-Materials Base for Polymers The tonnage of synthetic polymers—plastics, fibers, and rubbers—produced annually in the United States is now comparable to that of nonferrous metals. About 90 percent of the output is based on petroleum and natural-gas liquids; while polymers account for less than 5 percent of our consumption of these hydrocarbons, the implicit conflict with energy requirements is likely to intensify. Although oil shale and coal might be developed as raw-materials bases for polymers, it is nevertheless attractive to consider the technical feasibility of deriving synthetic polymers from renewable resources despite the fact that in the short range, hydrocarbons have a substantial economic edge. 6 Renewable Resources IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT studies be undertaken on the feasibility of using renewable resources, including organic wastes, as a raw-materials base for synthetic polymers. This recommendation should be implemented by the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources of the Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council. The analysis we recommend would emphasize topics such as: cellulose from wood, plants, and organic wastes as a major raw-materials base; the properties of cellulose-derived polymers compared to those manufactured from hydrocarbons; and production of ethylene, the major monomer in synthetic polymers, from alcohol made by fermenting organic wastes. Each such topic, moreover, must be considered in terms of its relative

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering ecological impact, including the biodegradability of the resulting synthetic polymers. (Pages 57–58, 88–89) Materials Selection and Product Design to Facilitate Recycling The need to raise the recycle rates of many materials is likely to become more intense, for both economic and environmental reasons. Skillful integration of materials selection with product design can ease the dismantling and separation of components for recycling, but this approach is not always straightforward. Metals like those in a shredded automobile, for example, tend to be degraded with each recycle, although they may be suitable for functions less demanding than the original ones. The same is true of many other materials, including blended plastics, ceramics, composites, and glass. 7 Recyclability IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the resources of materials science and engineering be deliberately exploited and extended to upgrade the recyclability of materials through materials development and selection, meshed carefully with product design, and through the development of new recycling processes. This recommendation should be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. Typical targets for materials science and engineering would include the development of materials—ceramic, metallic,

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering and polymeric—in which additives and alloying elements do not interface with the recycling of the base material. The eventual goal is to combine materials selection, product design and manufacture, and recycle processing in a systems approach to the optimization of new product development. (Pages 62–63, 87) Recommendations for Governmental Action Federal Policies and Programs in Materials Demands for materials, old and new, cannot fail to intensify in the years ahead. It is imperative that the nation look more closely at how best to meet the changing requirements for materials, not only in terms of conventional market factors, but also in the light of consumer attitudes, environmental pressures, and international relations. Materials science and engineering, applied creatively to the materials cycle, can do much to integrate modern materials technology into federal policies on materials supply and usage and the interrelated policies on energy and the environment. We also see a major role for materials science and engineering in federal mechanisms for technology assessment. Such approaches can work well only when objectives are clearly delineated, and yet materials-related federal responsibilities today are diffused among many agencies and advisory bodies that seem to have no unifying goals. This fragmentation is particularly disadvantageous from the standpoint of developing effective national policies pertaining to energy, the environment, and materials.

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering Recommendations for University Action Need for Interdisciplinary Programs in Universities To solve technological problems as well as to advance science often calls for interdisciplinary attack, and the materials field offers useful lessons in this respect. Yet the practice of interdisciplinary research and education at universities, including materials research centers, is impeded by the disciplinary and administrative characteristics of the institutions themselves. It is inhibited also by the internal structure of some of the main research-supporting agencies, including the lack of balance with respect to disciplines and materials in the staffing of those agencies. 17 Interdisciplinary Activities IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT universities intensify their efforts to build interdisciplinary activities in research and education; that the barriers to interdisciplinarity in universities be examined critically; and that guidelines be developed for recognizing and rewarding academic achievement in interdisciplinary and interdepartmental programs. This recommendation must be implemented by the universities themselves, although the American Council on Education could also undertake a study of the difficulties encountered by interdisciplinary programs. Materials science and engineering is one of several logical vehicles for such an effort. Federal agencies can encourage interdisciplinary work at universities through appropriate incentives and support, not only for research, but also for training students in

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering the interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. Supporting agencies should recognize, however, that suitably strong programs must be maintained in the traditional disciplines, which are essential to sound interdisciplinary activities. (Pages 23–27, 37–41) Materials Education for Physical Scientists and Engineers More than a decade ago, a comprehensive report* on engineering education pointed out the importance of education in materials for all engineering undergraduates. The makeup of the nation’s manpower in materials science and engineering including as it does large numbers of engineers, physicists, and chemists, as well as holders of materials-designated degrees, reinforces this view and extends it beyond engineering students in the physical sciences. 18 Materials Education for Undergraduates IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT undergraduate education in the physical sciences as well as in engineering provide opportunities for a flexible content of solid-state topics relevant to materials science and engineering. This recommendation invites attention by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Education, as well as by the academic community. The exposure we propose might also consist of *   Grinter, L.D., “Report on Evaluation of Engineering Education (1952– 55),” Journal of Engineering Education, 46, 25 (1955)

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering elective subjects, minor programs, or double majors, depending on the field and level. The concept of structure/property relationships could be emphasized in certain physics, chemistry, and engineering subjects. (Pages 28–33) Balance in Materials-Degree Programs University departments offering materials-designated degrees have, in the main, built into their curricula a suitable scientific base in physics, chemistry, and the pertinent engineering sciences. Substantial imbalances exist, however, in other areas important to the long-range effectiveness of materials science and engineering. 19 Curricular Balance IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT, depending on local circumstances, materials-degree programs provide increased emphasis on such engineering topics as: materials preparation and processing; polymer technology; design and systems analysis; computer modeling; relations among the properties, function, and performance of materials; and that research in these areas be included. The academic community should implement this recommendation. We believe that the curricular balance proposed will improve the education of a large fraction of the materials graduates who will pursue careers outside the university. (Pages 39, 54–96)

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering Block Funding of Materials Research Centers COSMAT’s inquiries into the existing materials research centers at universities confirm that the federal experiment of block funding, with research projects and facilities selected and managed locally, is a sound means of encouraging research of high quality. Performance at individual block-funded institutions has been uneven, however. It appears that some focusing of the associated research is usually desirable if strong interdisciplinary activities are to develop. And although central facilities have shown their potential for increasing the sophistication and output of materials research, actual working interactions in cooperative research on a given campus appear to depend more on local leadership by faculty and administration. 20 Materials Research Centers IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT support of materials research centers through block grants be accepted as an established funding method; that block grants be awarded and renewed on a competitive basis, and provide for forward or step funding; that, in addition to support for individual scientists, some concentration of effort be encouraged to take advantage of local research specializations; and that appropriate parts of the center programs be oriented toward materials systems (integrated combinations of materials), processing, and applications. This recommendation applies primarily to the National Science Foundation, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the National Aeronautics

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering and Space Administration. Of the federal budget for university research in materials, the proportion directed to materials research centers seems generally adequate to retain overall quality and flexibility; step funding will lessen problems caused by federal program changes or budget reductions. Focused efforts would offer a promising opportunity for civilian-oriented federal agencies to stimulate pertinent materials research at universities by contributing to the support of block-funded programs. (Pages 37–40) Recommendations for Professional Action Roles for National Advisory Groups Numerous groups advise parts of the federal government on special aspects of materials, but the two with continuity and wide scope are the National Materials Advisory Board and the Committee on Solid State Sciences, both within the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Each committee has dealt only with specific sectors in the field of materials science and engineering, and neither has discretionary funds with which to conduct studies. 21 Materials Advisory Groups IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the National Research Council coordinate more fully and draw effectively on the materials interests and expertise available to it through the two Academies in order to strengthen its advisory capacity across the full spectrum of

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering materials topics, particularly where national policies or goals are at issue. As part of the action recommended, the National Materials Advisory Board should continue to broaden its membership and materials coverage so as to serve a wider range of industries and governmental agencies. In addition, the Board and the Committee on Solid State Sciences should be recognized more fully as complementary bodies and utilized accordingly. Because of the recurring, need to identify national materials problems and opportunities, we expect that the Board and the Committee between them will become an important source of information and support for the newly established National Research Council Commissions on Societal Technologies, Natural Resources, and Peace and National Security. (Page 16) Coordination of Activities by Professional Societies Professionals in materials science and engineering are served by about 35 technical societies. Until recently there has been no mechanism to minimize overlaps in programming and otherwise coordinate the interests of materials professionals, many of whom must belong to several societies to cover their professional and technical needs. Formation of the Federation of Materials Societies in 1972, was a major progressive step; of the 17 broadly based societies invited to participate, nine had joined by October 1973.

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering 22 Coordination of Professional Societies IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT professional societies concerned with materials coordinate their programming and information-distribution functions, and that the societies actively support and participate in the Federation of Materials Societies. The Federation is a very promising mechanism for achieving a framework within which professionals in materials science and engineering will be able to recognize themselves as members of the field as a whole. Such cohesion will help attract well-qualified entrants to the field and will help ensure the proper allocation of resources to it by government and industry. The Federation in turn should offer its services to appropriate public and private bodies wherever it can be useful in matters involving materials. The Federation should also facilitate efforts among the societies to organize their work in technical programming, publications, and information-retrieval systems. A well-coordinated program is likewise required to increase public awareness of the underlying importance of materials in achieving national goals and of the role of materials science and engineering in securing the benefits of materials to mankind. (Pages 1–2, 23–33) Greater Flexibility of Materials Manpower Government, industry, and the universities interact in various ways that tend to increase the technical flexibility of materials (and other) scientists and engineers. Examples include joint academic-industrial

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering appointments and staff rotation, joint research projects, the Ford Foundation’s one-year industrial residency program, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Resident Industrial Scholarships for short-term appointments, and the Research Associates Program of the National Bureau of Standards. The extent of such interaction on a national scale, however, is not commensurate with its potential value. 23 Flexibility of Manpower IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT government, industry, and the universities pursue arrangements ranging from temporary exchanges in personnel to joint academic-industrial appointments in order to promote greater interaction and flexibility among materials scientists and engineers from the various sectors. This recommendation could be implemented cooperatively by the Industrial Research Institute and the National Science Foundation. Precedents exist for the arrangements recommended, and they should be exploited in the materials field. Industry and government, for example, might look to the universities to become foci for national or regional pilot research programs and for specialized knowledge in materials science and engineering. The steps recommended also could serve usefully for state and local projects dealing with regional industries, technological planning, mass transit, special energy requirements, and environmental problems. (Pages 23–33)

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering Improved Statistics on Manpower and Funding Serious shortcomings exist in the means for gathering statistics nationally on scientific and engineering manpower, employment, and associated resources. The data assembled by the Office of Education (Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) on degrees awarded annually are not coordinated with those in engineering collected by the Engineering Manpower Commission. Both sets of data are inadequate for analyses of materials-designated and related degrees. The National Science Foundation’s National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel, which provided important data on manpower characteristics, has been discontinued. The NSF data on funding for education and for research and development are at a level of detail that limits their utility for long-range planning. The federal research-funding data gathered by the Interagency Council for Materials are likewise incompletely developed. 24 Manpower and Funding Statistics IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, with support from the National Science Foundation, reassess the national data-gathering mechanisms for manpower, employment, and funding in science and engineering and that they recommend to the Foundation the actions required to create an internally consistent system suitable for long-range planning on a disciplinary or multi-disciplinary basis.

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Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering Implementation of this recommendation should be initiated by the National Science Foundation and coordinated with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Department of Labor), the Office of Education, scientific and engineering societies, and other relevant groups. It is most important that the pertinent data be collected and organized in a form useful for analysis and planning in multidisciplinary areas such as materials science and engineering and the environmental sciences. A sound data base of the kind recommended is essential for effective federal planning and budgeting in the sciences, education, employment, and related areas. (Pages 30–41)

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