A highly specialised subset of materials science and engineering that is concerned with the study of the physical and chemical behaviour of metallic elements, inter-metallic compounds and alloys is called metallurgy. This specialisation deals with science used to separate metals from their ore and the technology applied to engineer metallic components for specific uses. Metallurgy is a science distinct from metalworking, however metalworking is heavily dependent on metallurgy. Metallurgy is further subdivided into physical and chemical metallurgical sciences.
Metallurgical engineers are responsible for the extraction, refining and recycling of metals. They offer solutions to reduce corrosion and heat levels, and improving the strength of metal. The development of metals for use across a variety of sectors like transportation, healthcare and defense to name a few basically emphasises the fact that the work of a metallurgical engineer impacts other fields of engineering as they create the core materials to enhance functions of systems and products.
The early formal years of this discipline, over a century ago, adopting basic manual techniques. Processes were infinitely more difficult with operators manually attempting to decipher trends using analogue measurements and manual control systems.
At this juncture however, easily installable applications assisting with keeping track of measurements in real-time, accessible through the cloud has made things in the field a lot easier. Process variables can now be implemented to advances control strategies.
The future of metallurgy seems bright too with expected increase in popularity of state-of-the-art analytical techniques and data collection tools to comprehend, communicate and optimise digital control systems that are currently in place. The Internet of Things is soon to be incorporated into the mining and mineral processing industries to aid with their systems. Large information databases and feedback loops is sure to optimise recovery processes. The horizon of our conventional disciplines of metallurgy is sure to expand over the next decade.
How to opt for metallurgical engineering in India?
Metallurgical Engineering courses are available at a Bachelor’s degree level across universities in India like IIT Bombay, NIT Raipur and Jain University.
Students interested in metallurgy and material sciences would perform well on this course. A thorough background in high school level Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry is ideal for candidates opting for a Bachelors’ degree in the field of metallurgical engineering. The candidate must have an interest in learning about the process of mining, extraction, design and fabrication of different metals. Skills like critical thinking and strong analytical abilities would fare well in the long run in the field.
Masters level and job-oriented specialisations are available in:
- Ceramics and Glasses
- Corrosion Protection
- Electronic Materials and Devices
- Energy Materials and Devices
- Thin films and coatings
- Welding and Manufacturing
- Welding Engineer
- Plant Equipment Engineer
- Ballistics Engineer
- Quality Planning Engineer
- Senior Process Engineer
- Metallurgical R&D Lab Technician
- Vendor Development Engineer