. "2. Materials Science and Engineering and National Economic and Strategic Security." Materials Science and Engineering for the 1990s: Maintaining Competitiveness in the Age of Materials. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1989.
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Materials Science and Engineering for the 1990s: Maintaining Competitiveness in the Age of Materials
the information to operators in real time. Computers and computer modeling are beginning to play an important role in this area and are also reducing the time needed to take new materials, processes, and designs from the laboratory to the production floor. Throughout manufacturing, the integration of synthesis, processing, fabrication, and testing is a challenge to materials science and engineering.
Industry needs in other areas of materials science and engineering are also evident from the industry surveys outlined above. These include needs for new materials with new properties, especially composites, and new materials synthesized at the nanostructural level. Outstanding opportunities exist to improve the production and use of materials through computation as a complement to experimentation. A challenge is to use our understanding of structure, bonding, and properties to develop predictive models from the behavior of materials in use. There is a critical need for better ways to predict the mechanical behavior and useful lifetime of materials and objects in various applications.
Another theme that emerged in some of the industry surveys was that the federal government should help to identify industries of current or projected strategic national importance. Such identification should then influence the emphasis and direction of major national research activities. It was also felt that the government should play a role in helping to bring industry, universities, and federal laboratories together to address these research priorities.
The industry survey participants saw a number of opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the various institutions involved in materials science and engineering. Their views, and those of the committee as a whole, represent important themes of this report and are as follows:
Industry clearly has the major responsibility for maintaining the competitiveness of its products and its production operations. Greater emphasis on materials science and engineering and, in particular, on integration of materials science and engineering with other business operations is necessary to improve the competitive positions of U.S. firms in domestic and international competition. The incentives (e.g., money and prestige) for top-quality people to become involved in production should be increased. Intelligent collaborations with researchers in the universities and in government laboratories can enhance the effectiveness of R&D in industry. Industrial consortia can provide a mechanism to conduct R&D programs too large for any one company.
Universities traditionally have had a dual role in educating personnel for industry and in conducting innovative fundamental research. The universities can promote the general welfare through encouragement of the interdisciplinary teaching and interdisciplinary research characteristic of materials science and engineering. Both industry and the nation need materials