Materials Science & Engineering
The world of materials science is concerned with making stronger materials, improving manufacturing, and helping recycle materials to save our natural resources and reduce energy consumption. How materials are made, transformed, used, and recycled can have profound implications for areas as diverse as medicine, energy, transportation, and manufacturing. Research in materials science and engineering at WPI is also broad, encompassing biomaterials, metals and metals processing, nanomaterials and manufacturing, and the behavior of fluids.
- WPI's Metal Processing Institute (MPI) is the largest university-industry consortium in North America. Its six research centers conduct work on casting, powder metallurgy, and heat treating, among other areas, helping some of America's most important industries stay up-to-date and competitive.
- MPI's newest center aims to bring a sustainability perspective to metals processing, focusing on advanced technology for recovering metal from the waste stream and reusing it in the most effective and economical manner.
- Designing and manufacturing products to optimize performance, reliability, and recyclability is the focus of a new industrial-university alliance, the Integrative Materials Design Center.
- The surfaces of objects contain important clues to their material properties and history. WPI's Surface Metrology Laboratory has developed sophisticated methods for exploring surfaces at microscopic scales. Its research has found applications in fields as diverse as anthropology, food science, and sports.
- WPI's Multi-Phase Flow Group uses powerful computational techniques and supercomputers to study what occurs at the boundaries of multiple fluid phases, such as the point where a liquid meets air. With funding from such agencies as NSF, NASA, and DARPA, the group has modeled common but complex phenomena, such as boiling and bubbles.