Materials Science and Engineering and Nuclear Engineering were brought together under the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Florida. By bringing together these two engineering disciplines, the department has been able to expand its our nuclear materials and biomaterials research. This interdisciplinary research has made the department stronger together.
The research programs of the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department deal with the scientific and engineering aspects of the structure, properties, synthesis/processing/manufacturing and application of materials. Research into developing novel materials and processes, understanding the behavior of existing materials, and selecting materials to design functional components is being addressed. The most important aspect of MSE research programs is that they are interdisciplinary and focus on all materials—biomaterials, ceramics, electronic materials, glasses, metals, minerals and polymers—and their composites. Many of these programs also involve multi-investigators and close collaboration with other disciplines. In addition, computational materials science is a growing area of research for the department.
The Department is home to the Major Analytical Instrumentation Center. This user- supported center, with research equipment valued at more than $15 million, provides not only analytical support to the department and university researchers but also to industries by way of direct analysis, coordinated research and personnel training.
The department also houses several other centers including the HiTEC center for studying solid oxide fuel cells and complex oxides, and the Biomaterials Center which includes a broad range of collaborative studies involving faculty of Medicine and Dental school, as well as industrial participants.
The department also is home to the Computational Materials Science Focus Group which is a multidisciplinary effort focusing on developing a better understanding of Materials science through advanced computational methodologies. The Mineral Resources Research Center concentrates on advanced studies for more efficient recovery of mineral resources and involves industries from around Florida and the nation.
The Department plays a leadership role in the Particle Science and Technology Center. This Center started as an ERC and after 10 years has grown into an internationally recognized resource in the area of particle science. The SWAMP Center provides software for modeling the physics and chemistry of the integrated circuit manufacturing process, and experimental tools for the verification of the software models. MSE faculty members also actively participate and provide the leadership for the MICROFABRITECH multidisciplinary microelectronic program and also participate in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
The department stands among the best materials, metallurgy and ceramics departments in the nation, with an annual research expenditure of over $18 million. The research programs are conducted by 28 distinguished faculty, 30 scientists and research scholars, more than 220 graduate students, and 20 technical and support staff. The department has been extremely successful in developing and licensing several new products and materials. Some recent technologies transferred include high conductivity solid oxide fuel cell ceramics, advanced chemical mechanical polishing slurries, surface-modified intraocular lenses, nanocoating of particles, and diamond single crystals.
The Nuclear Engineering (NE) program was established to contribute to research and education for the application of nuclear science and engineering. Within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), the Nuclear Engineering program is a discipline with various applications including homeland security, power generation, radiation transport methods, nondestructive imaging and detection, advanced nuclear materials, nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics, as well as nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation.
Many diverse opportunities await graduates of the NE program as nuclear science and engineering continue to make major contributions to electricity production, medical diagnostic imaging and therapy, non-destructive testing as well as radiation detection and measurement. These opportunities will continue to grow as we face more challenges in energy production and the expanded use of nuclear technology.