Job type

Materials engineer

£20k - £45k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Materials engineers research the behaviour of materials used in industry to help make them stronger, lighter or more hard-wearing.

More info

  • Investigate and develop new materials that can be used in fields such as manufacturing, energy and medicine
  • This is an exciting and rapidly developing field and your work could have a huge impact on the world
  • Opportunities to specialise in particular materials or methods and to go into research or management roles

As a materials engineer, you'll research materials used in industry, like carbon fibre reinforced plastic, polymers, ceramics or alloys, and test their behaviours under different conditions. You'll usually work in a particular area, like metals, coatings or chemicals.  

You'll use non-destructive testing methods to investigate materials, like electrical conductivity, or tolerance to heat or corrosion. You might work with nanomaterials like graphene and phosphorene, and identify where their properties could be put to use, like in computer electronics or biological sensors.


  • Researching new ways to combine materials
  • Analysing test data using computer modelling software
  • Developing prototypes for new products
  • Designing manufacturing processes that use new materials
  • Investigating the reasons behind component or structural failures
  • Supervising a team of technicians
  • Writing reports


You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a laboratory, or in an office.

You'll need

For this job, you'll need knowledge of maths, physics, engineering science and technology; analytical thinking skills; knowledge of manufacturing production and processes; excellent verbal communication skills; and thoroughness and attention to detail.

You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in a relevant subject like materials engineering, materials science or technology, applied chemistry, or applied physics.
You could also do a degree specialising in one group of materials or their commercial use, like metallurgy, polymer science, biomaterials, or sports and materials science.

You may also be able to do a materials science technologist degree apprenticeship.


With experience, you could move into project management or technical sales. You could also specialise in a particular material, or work in research and consultancy.