ABOUT US

Vision of the Department

Becoming a centre of excellence in higher learning, research, industrial consultancy and other relevant activities in Materials Science and Engineering.

Mission Statement of the Department

To be a centre of excellence in Materials Science & Engineering by providing opportunity

  • For undergraduates and postgraduates to acquire specialized knowledge on the development and processing of engineering materials with attention to economic and environmental aspects while studying design, management and information technology

  • To conduct high-quality research to cater for national development
  • To provide consultancy services to the public and private sector in specific and society in general

History

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is presently the only academic body in Sri Lanka offering an undergraduate study programme in materials science and engineering. It began as Department of Materials Science, a division of School of Applied Science, which was established in April 1974 with the assistance of British Government under a link-arrangement between the University of Moratuwa and University of Leeds. In January 1981, the name of the department was changed to Department of Materials Engineering as it was absorbed into the Faculty of Engineering. The student intake was raised to ten from its initial figure of five. More Mechanical Engineering subjects were introduced into the curriculum and the students were given the option to select either the Materials Engineering course or the Materials Engineering with Mechanical Engineering bias course. Later in 1984 and in 1992, the curriculum was revised so as to provide a more balanced course on the three main categories of engineering materials; metals, ceramics and polymers. The intake of students was further increased to twenty in 1992. The curriculum was again revised in 2000 with the introduction of semester system of education in the university. Simultaneously a minor specialization in polymer engineering was started and the student intake was increased to its present figure of fifty. In June 2009 the name of the department was changed to its present name viz Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Why Study Materials Science and Engineering?

Engineering Materials hold the key to the Future of Engineering!
There is no irony in saying that a modern Airbus uses the same principles of flight as the Wright Flyer invented in 1903. However the first Wright Flyer barely carried the pilot and flew about 250m at a speed of 16km/h while an Airbus today carries nearly 550 people at speeds over 900km/h and has a range of about 15000km and it flies with infinitely more safety and comfort. Such performances would not have been possible if not for the specially developed high performance polymer composites, new high strength lightweight alloys and the state of the art electronics running on electro ceramics and semiconductor materials.
The story of the motorcar is no different. Karl Benz’s motor car invented in 1886 runs on the same principle as a modern-day motorcar but it generated only 0.8 hp though a 960 cc engine while an engine of similar capacity now develops over 60hp. The safety, comfort and speed of the modern-day car are almost incomparable with those that featured in the 1886 Benz. Here again, high strength lightweight alloys, polymers, composites, advanced ceramics and semiconductor materials had made all the difference.
The story of engineering in the last fifty years has been directed by the materials scientists and engineers around the world. Almost all recent technological advances had been a result of a development in materials science and engineering. Anti-staining coatings, flexible electronic displays, Magnetic fluid speakers are some such inventions.
Materials Science and engineering is a specialty in which the structure-property relationship of materials is studied and modeled in order to gain a good understanding about them. This knowledge is used to improve their performance and to develop new customized materials. The realm of study in this specialty also includes development of material processing methods and designing of materials processing tools.

Career Opportunities

A career in materials science and engineering involves a very broad scope of work ranging from managing and developing production processes to conducting research and developing materials, including investigating component failures and designing engineering items and processing tools. The opportunities to perform the above may be found in diverse fields of engineering such as the ceramic, polymer and metal manufacturing, or at institutions of research and development. As per the past graduate records, nearly a half the graduates have found employment in ceramic, metal or polymer-related industries and a significant portion of the remainder are employed in the construction sector. A few are employed in research institutions while a considerable number of graduates are employed overseas, most of them having completed postgraduate studies. The department of materials science and engineering has a 100% employability record of its graduates within a year of passing out and depending on the individual skills; the starting salary of a graduate is generally above the average.