What Are Materials?
Materials is an interdisciplinary field stretching over a wide variety of disciplines including ceramics; corrosion; electrical, mechanical, environmental, chemical, and civil engineering; glass; metallurgy; materials testing; polymers, composites, bio-materials; electronic materials; solid state chemistry; condensed matter physics; welding, joining and cutting; and standards. University materials education involves materials science and engineering departments. In addition many activities in physics, chemistry, ceramics, metallurgy, polymer, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering departments have a large materials content. Materials are important to most manufacturing industries and almost all consumer products. They frequently pace our progress and delineate national competitiveness in transportation, aerospace, electronics, environmental remediation, infrastructure renewal, bio-prostheses, communications, computing, energy production and utilization, and national defense.
The strength of materials research and engineering lies in its interdisciplinary nature and in the fact that there is a continuity of activities from fundamental science through engineering, applications, processes and commercial products. The result, however, is that materials professionals and their societies often find it difficult to discuss common problems, priorities and policies. Likewise, policy makers whether industrial managers, academic administrators, government agency managers, members of Federal and State executive offices, or congressional people and their staffs find it difficult to communicate with the diverse community and to discover its directions, priorities and opportunities. FMS exists to address these materials issues.