increased, especially in relation to processing, but also in relation to the other elements of the field of materials science and engineering.

Finding: Two additional areas of materials science and engineering need greater emphasis: (1) analysis and modeling and (2) instrumentation. In analysis and modeling work, three factors are leading to an explosion of activity, opportunities, and results. The first is the increasing speed, capacity, and accessibility of computers and the concomitant decreasing cost of computing. The second is the growing complexity of materials research and manufacturing. The third is the need in industry to speed the introduction of new designs and new processes into production and to improve production processes and products. Progress in these areas will serve to strengthen fundamental understanding of materials science and engineering and to integrate this understanding with applications. The committee recommends:

  • Increased emphasis should be given to computer-based analysis and modeling in research programs in materials science and engineering.

Finding: The capability to measure and analyze composition and structure at increasingly smaller levels is surely one of the great engines of progress of modern materials science and engineering. Of equal importance to materials science and engineering progress today is the ability to control structure and composition in new ways and at new levels of precision. Instruments, especially new and sophisticated instruments, will continue to enhance progress in materials science and engineering. The committee notes that the level of support allocated to development of new and unique instruments in universities is small and that U.S. industry is losing its ability to take basic inventions in this area and convert them into business opportunities. The effect of this deterioration in capability is that advanced instrumentation does not diffuse rapidly throughout the academic and industrial research communities. National laboratories, through their large facilities and capabilities in instruments and facility development, may be able to make a unique contribution to this activity. The committee recommends:

  • Government funding agencies should devote a portion of their materials science and engineering program budgets specifically to R&D on and demonstration of new instruments for analysis and synthesis and processing of materials, including instruments that analyze processes in real time.

Maintaining and Improving the Infrastructure for Research in Materials Science and Engineering

Finding: The field of materials science and engineering is broad. The products of research in this field must meet the exacting standards of intellectual pursuit in an academic setting and of international competition in

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement