Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Department of Materials

What is materials?

  • The World Around You

    IS the world of Materials

    "All the best engineered products are unlocked as a solution by the materials they have used"

    Richard Simkins - Rolls-Royce

    Campus scene
  • The Ages of Man

    Materials have been so significant in the historic development of human kind, that we have used them to name major periods of our history.

    Ages of man
  • Performance

    • Faster
    • Stronger
    • More Durable
    • Temperature Resistant
    • Corrosion Resistant

    Just a few of many important performance criteria to consider in an engineering design and material choice is critical to achieving these

    Wind tunnel testing
  • Economy

    Choosing the right raw materials
    Processing routes

    These are both essential elements to achieve an economic solution.
    Materials Engineers are experts at this

    Rising costs
  • Sustainability

    From cradle to grave the Environmental impact of any product depends on choice of materials

    Recent years have seen the development of new materials and new ways to process, recycle and re-use that are more sustainable.

    All our undergraduate courses have sustainability and the environment as key module elements

  • What do Materials students study?

    A fascinating mix of science and engineering covering all these and more...

    • Metals
    • Polymers
    • Ceramics
    • Composites
    • Their Structures
    • Their Behaviour
    • Processing Routes
    • Choosing Materials
    • Designing with Materials

    Materials lab class
  • Olympic torch 2012

    Some insights into the materials engineering and design of the 2012 Olympic Torch

    by Professor Rachel Thomson
    Dean of the School of
    Aeronautical, Automotive,
    Chemical and Materials

    Read more

    The 2012 Olympic Torch

The term 'materials' broadly describes everything we use to manufacture everyday objects from cars to bridges, toys to aeroplanes. Materials have literally shaped our society, from everyday plastics through to the advanced superalloys used in jet engines and functional ceramics that form the backbone of our electronic components. Everything that we make is based on materials in one form or another and they underpin just about every modern technological development.

The role of a Materials Engineer

When a company develops a new product or component there are fundamental questions of what to make it from and how to process it

  • Is your first priority Cost?

  • Is your first priority Performance?

  • Is your first priority Sustainability?

Materials Engineers provide the answers to these questions and advise on the correct choice of materials for engineering applications, determine the correct processing route and test whether the materials will meet in-service requirements, as well as analysing failed components to determine the cause of the problem and how to prevent it happening again. Materials scientists and engineers continue to expand our knowledge of the scientific properties of materials and develop new ones. Our undergraduate courses give you the opportunity to be part of that development process and be one of the next generation of materials engineers, scientists, or business managers.

Find out more about careers in Materials »

In our rapidly evolving modern world, a wide range of major industrial sectors rely on the latest materials innovations to drive them forward. Here are just a few examples of recent innovations that rest on Materials Science and Technology:

  • huge wind turbine blades that are stiff, strong, light and have minimal drag to get the most efficient power from wind
  • glued joints used in the most demanding of applications such as cars, aeroplanes and trains for more streamlined and fuel efficient designs
  • ever more successful implants and replacement joint operations can be performed to improve the quality of people's lives
  • nanotechnologies that allow electronic components to be made ever-smaller, shrinking the size of every-day objects whilst improving their capabilities

What does a Materials student study?

Materials students gain an in-depth knowledge of what things are made of, how they are made and why. This provides a great opportunity to use science and maths skills in a practical way across every industrial sector.

Engineering materials can be split into three main areas; metals, polymers and ceramics, which all feature in our courses in a balanced way, along with sub categories such as nanomaterials and composites.

Starting with the basics of what makes materials the way they are, students consider the development and improvement of new and existing materials by investigating their structure, processing and properties and how they can be used to design and make new and improved products. In their final year students do a genuine research or design project that can result in better materials and hence better products for our society.

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General enquiries

+44 (0)1509 223331

+44 (0)1509 223949