Materials Science is the research area that tries to explain why materials behave in the way that they appear to. From understanding why metals are strong and tough but ceramics are hard and often brittle, the properties of materials – be they plastic, metallic, glassy or ceramic – are intimately related to their constituent features. The properties of materials are not simply related to how well atoms are bonded to each other; ‘real’ materials have all sorts of imperfections in them and on them, that presents new interfaces to stresses, strains, fields, light and so on. Such imperfections and defects nearly always dominate a materials ultimate performance.
Once the physics of complex ‘materials interfaces’ are understood, then new materials, often with unusual properties, can sometimes be created. For example, normally brittle ceramics can be ‘toughened’ in all sorts of interesting ways. There are also innumerable questions that materials science seeks to answer; for example, why do certain materials conduct electricity and yet others resist, why are red materials ‘red’, what governs the optical appearance of materials from their colour to their transparency? The subject is enormous. Materials science attempts to provide a better understanding of materials properties and performance, in all sorts of applications and industrial settings.
At Electrosciences, we focus our attention on the physics of ‘functional materials’. This simply means those materials that have some useful, perhaps unusual, characteristics associated with them, other than their thermo-mechanical properties. For example, a material that changes its optical transparency when an electrical field is applied, or a material that changes its shape when a voltage is applied, are all functional materials. Electrosciences has expertise in the physics of functinal materials and has a great breadth of experience, working across multiple industrial and academic settings.
We hope you find our website helpful and informative. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you feel we might be able to help you with any materials challenge.