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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

Materials and Man’s Needs

Materials Science and Engineering

Summary Report of the Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Washington, D.C.
1974

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

Materials and Man’s Needs

Materials Science and Engineering

Summary Report of the Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Washington, D.C.

1974

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

NOTICE

This report is one of a series of survey reports on major areas of science and technology, sponsored and organized by the Committee on Science and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences.

The members of the committee selected to undertake this project and prepare this report were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due consideration for the balance of the disciplines appropriate to the project. Responsibility for the detailed aspects of this report rests with the committee.

Each report issuing from the National Academy of Sciences is reviewed by an independent group of qualified individuals according to procedures established and monitored by the Report Review Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. Distribution of the report is approved, by the President of the Academy, upon satisfactory completion of the review process.

Frontispiece: A schematic illustration of the materials cycle, showing the principal arena of materials science and engineering. Not indicated are myriad possible subcycles, including those related to the environment and energy.

ISBN 0-309-02220-7

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74–2118

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

December 1973

Dear Dr. Handler:

The Committee on Science and Public Policy takes pleasure in transmitting to you the Summary Report of its Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering (COSMAT) under the title Materials and Man’s Needs. This committee was originally appointed by you in December of 1970 under the chairmanship of Dr. Morris Cohen of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The present report may be considered as the latest in the series of reports on the needs and opportunities of the various scientific disciplines sponsored by the Committee on Science and Public Policy (COSPUP). However, it differs from earlier reports in the series in several important respects. Materials science and engineering is not a single discipline, like physics or chemistry, but rather a multidisciplinary area of research and engineering that has evolved gradually over the last twenty years into a coherent aggregation of related activities, but within which each of the component disciplines retains its identity. Although the earlier disciplinary reports laid considerable stress on the applications of each discipline to national needs in general, the principal emphasis was on the scientific opportunities in the discipline and on the means required to realize and exploit these opportunities.

The present report lays more stress on the needs themselves, and on their implications for the organization and evolution of research and education in the field of materials. There is particular emphasis on the engineering and design aspects of the field. This difference in emphasis is reflected in the composition of the Committee; out of 23 members, 13 come from non-academic institutions, and several, including one economist, one historian of technology, and one geologist, are not specialists in materials research.

The report attempts to advance further the effort made in earlier COSPUP reports to find ways of identifying priorities in a field of research. A rather elaborate survey was designed in which nearly 1,000 specialists from a wide variety of technical fields participated. The purpose of this survey was to relate priorities within various technical subfields to various areas of future national needs, such as energy, transportation, communications, environmental protection, and public health. As often seems to be true in such studies, some of the results are ambiguous, and their translation into governmental or other institutional policies are not obvious. Nevertheless, a few patterns emerge,

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

and we feel that the exercise will significantly advance public discussion of priorities in general as well as specific priorities for materials research.

The appearance of the COSMAT report seems especially timely in relation to other national reports in the materials field. The last few years has witnessed rising public and Congressional concern with the future availability of natural resources for the economic growth of the United States, and with the development of more coherent national strategies for the wise and efficient use of available resources. With this concern there has emerged the concept of the “materials cycle,” the life history of materials from extraction of the original raw materials through design of a product to final disposal of the used product into the environment, or to recycling for other uses. This concept constitutes the focus and theme of the present report. The report should be read in conjunction with the recently published report of the National Commission on Materials Policy and with the reports of the Secretary of the Interior mandated by the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, as well as with several privately sponsored reports, such as the recent report of the American Chemical Society, Chemistry in the Economy, and the National Academy of Sciences’ earlier report, Man, Materials, and the Environment.

Although placing greater emphasis on the translation of national needs into scientific priorities, the present report does not overlook the opportunity-oriented aspects of the materials field. The chapter entitled “Opportunities in Materials Research” provides an exciting account of new developments in the field, and points out the many opportunities for new conceptual advances as well as new progress in materials processing and in development and study of whole new classes of materials.

Very truly yours,

Melvin Calvin

Chairman

Committee on Science and Public Policy

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

This report, Materials and Man’s Needs, is the latest in a series of survey reports concerning major fields of science and technology, prepared under the aegis of the Academy’s Committee on Science and Public Policy. In this instance, the report presents an intensive examination of a field that is inherently multidisciplinary and that impinges in innumerable ways upon economic stability and the quality of life.

Materials science and technology is unquestionably a resource of the greatest importance. The Academy is indebted to the Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering for this substantial contribution to our appreciation and understanding of that resource.

Philip Handler

President

Washington, D.C.

December 1973

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

PREFACE

What is materials science and engineering? How does it function? How can it contribute more effectively to the achievement of societal goals and national purpose? This report, Materials and Man’s Needs: Materials Science and Engineering, attempts to answer these and related questions.

In December 1970, the President of the National Academy of Sciences appointed a Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering (COSMAT) to conduct a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the field of materials science and engineering. This Survey follows others in various fields of science conducted during the past decade under the aegis of the Academy’s Committee on Science and Public Policy. However, the COSMAT study is the first to embrace both science and engineering in its coverage, centering on the relationships between the structure and properties of materials as a basis for their design, preparation, and utilization by mankind.

The present report summarizes the main results of the COSMAT study and is intended primarily for executives and administrators in government, industry, and universities who are involved with decisions or policies in which materials and the associated sciences and technologies play a significant role. At the same time, some parts of the report are designed to portray the intellectual excitement of the field and will be of special interest to the working scientist or engineer. The relatively concise form of this Summary Report will facilitate access to the principal findings and recommendations of the Survey, as well as to COSMAT’s priority analysis of materials research bearing on national

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

goals and programs. A more complete account of the COSMAT study will appear subsequently.

The overall objectives of the Survey have been: to determine the nature and scope of materials science and engineering; to ascertain the linkage of science with engineering in the field of materials for the successful translation of new basic knowledge into useful application; to examine the interaction of materials science and engineering with other areas of science and technology; to discern trends in the development of the materials field in order to identify its challenges, opportunities, and needs; and to reach conclusions concerning the means by which materials science and engineering might contribute more broadly to the national well-being. The Survey Committee was constituted deliberately to reflect not only the wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines comprising the field itself, but also the experience of practitioners in universities, industry, and government. Moreover, in order to obtain a somewhat “outside view” as well, professionals in economics, history, geology, and engineering design were included in the Committee membership.

Because materials occupy a central position in national economies as well as in man’s daily life, COSMAT found it appropriate, indeed essential, to direct considerable attention to the larger field of materials in which materials science and engineering operate. Similarly, research priorities in materials science and engineering were addressed not only from the standpoint of creative appeal, but also in the context of societal goals, ecological constraints, and dwindling natural resources, To obtain necessary information for this broad approach, COSMAT appointed 11 panels and committees and secured responses through questionnaires and position papers from a wide community of experts. Nearly 1,000

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

persons and institutions provided inputs on various aspects of the Survey and more than 100 individuals participated directly in the COSMAT program.

The field of materials science and engineering has turned out to be so extensive in scope and so pervasive in its applications that we cannot claim to have elucidated all of its important manifestations sufficiently. But the COSMAT Survey does provide a framework for delineating those areas that may merit further examination. Partly by design and partly from inability at this stage, COSMAT has not attempted to make specific estimates of the funding and manpower needed for fulfilling the role of materials science and engineering in the nation. That further inquiry will come about naturally due to societal driving forces, we are convinced, if COSMAT has done justice to its exploratory mission. Related studies that help round out the panorama of the materials field are the Academy reports on “Minerals Science and Technology: Needs, Challenges and Opportunities” (1969); “Physics in Perspective” (1972); “Man, Materials, and the Environment” (1973); the report of the American Chemical Society on “Chemistry in the Economy” (1973); and the final report of the National Commission on Materials Policy (1973). The COSMAT report, in particular, points out the role of materials science and engineering within the framework of that policy.

COSMAT is appreciative of the foresight of the Committee on Science and Public Policy in discerning the timeliness and importance of surveying the field of materials science and engineering, with its interrelations among technology, science, and society. Harvey Brooks, then Chairman of the Committee on Science and Public Policy, and Robert E.Green, its Executive Secretary, were most helpful in

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

getting this study launched under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences.

COSMAT is also particularly grateful to the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for their financial and cooperative support of the COSMAT undertaking. The valuable assistance received from many individuals and professional organizations in the United States and abroad added immeasurably to the depth and comprehensiveness of the study. We also acknowledge the very perceptive and skillful efforts of its consultant, Kenneth M.Reese, in the writing of this report.

Morris Cohen, Chairman

William O.Baker, Vice Chairman

Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE SURVEY OF MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING (COSMAT)

*Morris Cohen (Chairman)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*William O.Baker (Vice Chairman)

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

Donald J.Blickwede

Bethlehem Steel Corporation

Raymond F.Boyer

Dow Chemical Company

*Paul F.Chenea

General Motors Corporation

Preston E.Cloud

University of California, Santa Barbara

*Daniel C.Drucker

University of Illinois

Julius J.Harwood

Ford Motor Company

I.Grant Hedrick

Grumman Aerospace Corporation

Walter R.Hibbard, Jr.

Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation

*John D.Hoffman

National Bureau of Standards

Melvin Kranzberg

Georgia Institute of Technology

*Hans H.Landsberg

Resources for the Future, Inc.

Humboldt W.Leverenz

RCA Laboratories, Inc.

Donald J.Lyman

University of Utah

Roger S.Porter

University of Massachusetts

Rustum Roy

Pennsylvania State University

*Roland W.Schmitt

General Electric Company

Abe Silverstein

Republic Steel Corporation

Lawrence H.Van Vlack

The University of Michigan

Ex-Officio Members

*Harvey Brooks (as former Chairman, Committee on Science and Public Policy, NAS)

Harvard University

*N.Bruce Hannay (as Chairman, National Materials Advisory Board, National Research Council, NAS-NAE)

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

*Ernst Weber (as Chairman, Division of Engineering, National Research Council, NAS-NAE)

National Academy of Sciences

*  

Members of the Executive Board

Survey Directors

Alan G.Chynoweth

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

S.Victor Radcliffe

Case Western Reserve University

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Melvin Calvin (Chairman)

University of California, Berkeley

James R.Arnold

University of California, La Jolla

Robert W.Berliner

Yale University

James Ebert

Carnegie Institution of Washington

H.S.Gutowsky

University of Illinois

David S.Heeschen

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Sterling Hendricks

Silver Spring, Maryland

W.Conyers Herring

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

H.W.Menard

University of California, La Jolla

Arthur B.Pardee

Princeton University

Ruth Patrick

The Academy of Natural Sciences

Herschel L.Roman

University of Washington

Ascher H.Shapiro

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I.M.Singer

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

James Tobin

Yale University

John R.Whinnery

University of California, Berkeley

Harvey Brooks (Past Chairman)

Harvard University

G.B.Kistiakowsky (Past Chairman)

Harvard University

Saunders Mac Lane (Ex Officio)

University of Chicago

Robert E.Green (Executive Secretary)

National Academy of Sciences

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

 

 

NATIONAL CONCERNS AND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

 

54

   

Challenges in the Materials Cycle

 

54

   

Exploration;

 

 

   

Mining;

 

 

   

Extraction;

 

 

   

Renewable Resources;

 

 

   

Resource Substitution;

 

 

   

Processing, Manufacturing;

 

 

   

Environmental Effects;

 

 

   

Improved Performance;

 

 

   

Functional Substitution;

 

 

   

Product Design;

 

 

   

Recovery, Recycling

 

 

   

Materials Challenges in Areas of National Impact

 

63

   

Needs in Communications

 

64

   

Needs in Space

 

68

   

Needs in Electrical Energy

 

70

   

Superconductors;

 

 

   

High-Temperature Turbines;

 

 

   

MHD Generator;

 

 

   

Breeder Reactor;

 

 

   

Solar Energy;

 

 

   

Energy Storage

 

 

   

Needs in Transportation

 

76

   

Automobiles;

 

 

   

Mass Transit;

 

 

   

Marine Transportation;

 

 

   

Aircraft

 

 

   

Needs in Health Services

 

82

   

Small Markets;

 

 

   

Gaps in Knowledge;

 

 

   

New Perspectives;

 

 

   

Lack of Standards

 

 

   

Needs in Environmental Management

 

86

   

Manufacturing;

 

 

   

Recycling;

 

 

   

Waste Conversion;

 

 

   

Packaging

 

 

   

Needs in Housing

 

89

   

Predicting Behavior;

 

 

   

Performance Criteria;

 

 

   

Thermal Insulation;

 

 

   

Offsite Assembly

 

 

   

Needs in Consumer Goods, Production Equipment, Automation

 

93

   

Goal-Oriented Materials Research Bearing on Areas of National Impact

 

95

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

 

 

OPPORTUNITIES IN MATERIALS RESEARCH

 

97

   

Priority Analysis

 

97

   

Selected Priority Problems in Materials Research Based on Questionnaire Responses

 

106

   

Corrosion

 

106

   

Flammability of Polymers

 

109

   

Biomaterials

 

110

   

Fracture Mechanisms, Defects

 

113

   

Superconductivity

 

115

   

Composites, Concrete

 

116

   

Superalloys

 

119

   

Ceramics, Glass

 

121

   

Polymers

 

124

   

Processing: Metals

 

126

   

Processing: Rubber, Plastics

 

129

   

Testing, Characterization, Evaluation

 

131

   

Materials Research on Fundamental Properties

 

134

   

Selected Research Frontiers

 

136

   

Interatomic Forces, Chemical Bonding, Lattice Stability

 

136

   

Microscopic Understanding of Phase Transitions

 

137

   

Amorphous, Disordered State

 

138

   

Impurity Effects in Solids

 

140

   

Surfaces

 

142

   

One- and Two-Dimensional Systems

 

146

   

Physical Properties of Polymeric Materials

 

148

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

FIGURES

Figure Number

Page Number

Frontispiece

 

Schematic Illustration of the Materials Cycle

 

 

1

 

Materials in a Boiling-Water Nuclear Reactor

 

9

2

 

Materials in a Jet Engine

 

10

3

 

Materials in an Integrated Circuit

 

11

4

 

Research and Development Spending in the United States (1953–72)

 

17

5

 

Conduct of Federal Research and Development

 

18

6

 

Trends in Federal Basic and Applied Research

 

19

7

 

Disciplinary Mix in Materials Science and Engineering

 

26

8

 

Factors Involved in the Flow of Materials

 

43

9

 

Partial Relevance Tree for Health Services

 

55

A-1

 

Relationship Between Priority Ratings for Basic Research in Various Specialties and Familiarity Ratings of the Respondents in the Specialties

 

197

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

TABLES

Table Number

Page Number

1

 

U.S. Trade Balance in Illustrative Product Categories

 

15

2

 

Selected Achievements in Materials Science and Engineering

 

24

3

 

Estimates of Manpower in Principal Disciplinary Sectors of Materials Science and Engineering

 

31

4

 

Distribution of Materials Scientists and Engineers by Category of Activity

 

33

5

 

Direct Federal Funding of Materials Research and Development by Agency, Type of Research, and Performer

 

35

6

 

Direct Federal Funding of Materials Research and Development by Agency and Field of Materials

 

36

7

 

Consumption of Selected Basic Materials in the U.S.

 

42

8

 

Selected Industry Components of the Gross National Product (1971)

 

44

9

 

Industrial Research and Development

 

47

10

 

Industrial Research and Development as Percent of Sales

 

48

11

 

Federally Financed Industrial Research and Development

 

49

12

 

Company-Funded Industrial Research and Development

 

50

13

 

Relative Importance of Materials Science and Engineering in Nine Areas of Impact

 

65

14

 

Goal-Oriented Materials Research Bearing on Areas of National Impact

 

96

15

 

Priorities for Applied Research in Materials by Area of Impact

 

99

16

 

Applied Materials Research Problems of Broad Implication

 

102

17

 

Priorities for Basic Research in Materials

 

103

A-1

 

Priority Ratings for Basic Research in Materials Science and Engineering, Arranged According to Specialties

 

193

A-2

 

Responses Received, Arranged According to Areas and Subareas of Impact

 

194

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

THE MESSAGE OF COSMAT

Materials have been ingrained in human culture since the beginning of history. They rank with energy and information as basic resources of mankind. Both nature-given and man-made materials are the working substances of our civilization, and they should be probed, manipulated, modified, utilized, and safeguarded with due respect. Considerations like these stimulate the intellectual and social forces that are tending to draw a science and engineering of materials into being. But though the style of activity in this field may be new, its existence in one form or another may long have been appreciated. The Greeks had a word that seems apt today; “hylology, a doctrine or science of matter.”

Materials science and engineering is emerging, COSMAT believes, as a coherent doctrine or technical field with deep intellectual roots, which promises new contributions, on a practical time scale, to the nation’s prosperity, security, and quality of life. It intimately combines knowledge of the condensed state of matter with the real world of material function and performance. It links the quest for deep fundamental understanding of matter with the imperative of satisfying man’s needs. Over all, materials science and engineering is a purposeful enterprise closely coupled to mankind’s requirements for products, structures, machines, and devices. Herein lies its strength, value, and novelty. In a way perhaps unprecedented in the history of science and technology, it presents a basis for sophisticated management of a total field of science and engineering that leads at the same time to benefits for society and to professional satisfactions for its practitioners.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

Society will always need material things but in addition there is growing worldwide concern over the continued supply of energy and the impact of man’s technology on the environment: the challenges to materials science and engineering have never been greater. These concerns are compounded by an equally growing awareness of the difficulties in assuring the continued availability of raw materials. It is vital to learn how to move materials carefully around the materials cycle, from production of raw materials to use and eventual disposal, in ways that minimize strain on natural and environmental resources. To help improve the management of all aspects of materials, the concepts and methods of materials science and engineering must be applied systematically at all points in the materials cycle and coordinated with evolving national policies on resources, energy, and environmental quality.

Consistent with this central theme our design has five general thrusts:

  • Purposeful mobilization of the technical expertise of materials scientists and engineers.

  • Comprehensive federal leadership.

  • An intensive effort by industry to exploit and nourish the reservoir of materials knowledge.

  • A strengthened academic base to inject new knowledge into that reservoir.

  • A deliberate assumption of pertinent responsibilities by materials professionals and their technical societies.

Specific technical goals for materials science and engineering are not difficult to find. Virtually all our current and prospective methods of generating, transmitting, storing, and using energy are materials-limited, some of them seriously so. Many stresses on environmental quality caused by man’s technological operations can be

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

alleviated only by imaginative and comprehensive materials technology. Materials concepts should also be applied systematically to favor the use of abundant and renewable resources and to upgrade the recyclability of materials, particularly through materials selection and development, and product design. Technical attention is invited by many other areas, including transportation, biomaterials, advanced automation technologies, and construction materials. Certain materials problems are generic to many of these areas and call for intensified research backed up by longer-range research on fundamental properties of materials rather more complex than those customarily studied. To these ends, we shall be recommending that:

  1. Critical materials research and development be given high emphasis in national programs to alleviate energy shortages.

  2. The interdisciplinary capabilities of materials science and engineering be systematically brought to bear on problems of environmental quality.

  3. Materials research and development be recognized as vital to achieving specific technical goals and be adequately supported.

  4. Important opportunities for applied materials research of broad implication be tackled more vigorously.

  5. Fundamental research in materials be broadened to address more complex materials.

  6. The feasibility of using forests and other renewable organic sources as raw materials for plastics be assessed.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×
  1. Resources of materials science and engineering be invoked to increase the recyclability of materials and products.

The necessity for an overall, creative, and prudent management of our materials resources toward a closed cycle of efficient use and reuse is unquestioned today. Every contemporary materials study documents this need in terms of provision for the future, advancing the national economy, restoring and securing the national energy balance, and improving as well as conserving the environment. Federal leadership is required to achieve these ends. This leadership should be coherent and oriented toward establishing materials policies in harmony with those on resources, energy, and the environment. It should draw on the technical community, as necessary, for the analytical and advisory tools required, particularly to develop a more quantitative understanding of the materials cycle. And it should work along these lines with its counterparts in other nations and in international bodies, since neither knowledge nor resources are the exclusive concern of the United States. In the federal infrastructure for materials science and engineering research programs, there needs to be balanced support for basic and applied research, effective coordination among various agencies and departments, and optimal utilization of federal research laboratories. To these purposes, we shall be recommending that:

  1. The federal government develop a broad materials policy in the context of the materials cycle and on the same level as related policies for energy and the environment.

  2. Urgent attention be given to developing international cooperation in the materials field.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×
  1. The allocation of resources between basic and applied research in materials be continually examined and kept appropriate to national needs.

  2. There be effective coordination of materials research programs among federal agencies and departments.

  3. The opportunities for materials research afforded by federal laboratories be used to the full.

In the industrial sector there is impressive potential for fuller involvement of materials science and engineering. There are rich opportunities for new products to meet societal demands, in harmony with new processes to make more efficient use of available resources. However, such advances will require a renewed commitment to materials research and development, a reasoned combination of basic and applied research, and a coordinated application of materials knowledge as demonstrated successfully by the higher-technology industries. Small companies could benefit significantly from joint sponsorship of generic applied research on materials, particularly at universities where the appropriate talents and facilities happen to exist; there are also sound arguments for governmental participation in this connection. Specifically, we will recommend that:

  1. Industry work to integrate materials science and engineering with product design and manufacture,

  2. Cooperation between industries in materials research and development be expedited.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×
  1. Mature industries in the materials field strengthen their research, particularly in materials processing and manufacturing.

  2. Industry, government, and universities cooperate in establishing needed materials research facilities.

The bodies of knowledge required for progress in materials frequently do not coincide with those of the traditional disciplines. Though the latter contribute significantly to materials science and engineering, they tend to maintain a compartmentalization of the field. It is incumbent on universities to seek a more flexible balance of disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities in both education and research, and the field of materials offers fertile ground for such evolutionary changes. We believe that materials science will play an increasingly significant part in the education and work of physical and life scientists as well as of engineers and technologists. Accordingly, we shall recommend that:

  1. Universities intensify their efforts to build interdisciplinary activities in research and education.

  2. Solid-state topics play a more significant part in the undergraduate education of physical scientists as well as of engineers.

  3. Undergraduate curricula in materials be designed to strengthen the role of engineering.

  4. Interdisciplinary materials research laboratories continue to receive a substantial proportion of their support as

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1974. Materials and Man's Needs: Materials Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10435.
×

block funds and continue to evolve techniques for effective local management of these funds.

In the light of these trends and challenges, scientific and engineering societies concerned with materials should vigorously pursue initiatives for the effective coordination of programming, journals, information services, and all such professional matters that will help the field contribute its full potential to human well-being, national purpose, and to science and engineering generally. Lively interplay among the professions is just as indispensable as among the disciplines, and the technical societies should provide a fluid medium for this interplay. To these various ends we shall recommend that:

  1. The National Research Council work toward taking full advantage of its opportunites to draw on expertise in the materials community.

  2. Professional societies in the materials field deliberately seek to coordinate their activities.

  3. Government, industry, and universities develop arrangements for personnel interchanges and interactions and make the fullest possible use of existing ones.

  4. Improved data- and statistics-gathering mechanisms useful for the multidisciplinary field of materials science and engineering be developed and supported on a continuing basis.

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