Materials engineering deals with the development of new materials and the characterization of their properties, which include:
- mechanical properties such as tensile strength, fatigue life, fracture toughness;
- physical properties like thermal expansion, electrical conductivity, magnetic susceptibility;
- chemical properties such as oxidation resistance, thermodynamic stability, chemical reactivity.
Material properties can be improved by alloying or by phase transformation through mechanical and thermal treatment or by microstructural texturing imprinted by the method of processing. The materials spectrum encompasses metals, ceramics, polymers and semiconductors which can be crystalline, amorphous or nanostructured.