The Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the College of Engineering and Technology of Kwara State University (KWASU) is timely and can provide a unique forum for KWASU to be at the forefront of Technological Development in Nigeria and the world at large.It would provide an opportunity for Kwara State, and indeed, Nigeria to take stock of the abundant mineral resources available to them with a view to providing the raw materials necessary for industrial development and hence, a reduction of our dependence on imported raw materials for production and replacement of parts. The end result is high productivity, employment opportunities, reduction in excessive forex usage, economic buoyancy and self-sufficient graduates.
Materials engineering is an interdisciplinary program that takes its roots in the basic sciences- Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and involves the processing of the raw materials for application in all engineering fields. It therefore addresses areas of physical metallurgy/mechanical metallurgy, process metallurgy and non-metallic/inorganic materials and polymers. Physical/Mechanical Metallurgy permits modification of materials properties to suite one’s intended use through mechanical and thermal treatment relating to the atomic, electronic and defect structures at micro levels. Such knowledge is needed to assist in engineering design and applications.
Process Metallurgy involves the winning of metals from their ores (Extractive metallurgy) and subsequently improving the properties of the metal (Refining) for wider applications. It also addresses manufacturing techniques for replacement of parts and repairs like casting, welding, forming, brazing and the most modern technique, Powder Metallurgy, (PM).
Ceramics permit the use of materials for high temperature applications and form part of the constituents that produce light weight composite materials required for the aerospace industry.
Polymer studies now permit the use of such materials in situations that were never expected before now. High temperature and high strength polymers now exist and, when in the composite form, can perform beyond all expectations. The integral units of modern vehicles are mostly of composite materials containing metals, polymers and ceramics to produce light weight, strong, corrosion and high temperature resistance materials.
The present world is technologically driven and knowledge of materials is the main source of the technological success. Silicon, for instance, that was known by chemists and physicists to be a semi-conductor has now been modified to a superconducting realm and has revolutionized the electronic industries as available in silicon chips.
It is therefore important for materials knowledge to be acquired in order to be in tune with technological advancements. The new thinking in revitalizing the ailing Steel and Aluminum industries by the federal government is a step in the right direction and KWASU can be part and parcel of this development through the establishment of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to provide the necessary manpower to drive the industries and also produce self-reliant graduates as required in the new entrepreneurship schemes.
PEDAGOGY AND PHILOSOPHY
The program provides students with a framework for understanding and designing materials and systems for multiple functions. Stimulate instincts for innovation based on a sound foundation in engineering science principles.
We expect students to understand the abstractions related to multifunctional materials and systems. These include: (a) materials and devices; (b) energy conversion; (c) structure/property relations; (f) modeling and algorithms; (g) transport phenomena; (h) design and production systems, (i) materials extraction and production; (j) materials development and modeling, and (k) environmental impact.
The pedagogy is that of an engineering science approach complemented by exposure to a range of approaches to multifunctional design and production. The objective is to provide students with the ability to solve structured problems and develop creative solutions to a wide range of unstructured materials engineering problems.
Year 1: Courses in Basic Sciences related to Engineering Fundamentals
Year 2: Courses in Engineering Fundamentals and SWEP
Year 3: Courses that are MSE program specific
Year 4: MSE courses in areas of concentration and SIWES
Year 5: MSE courses specific to each student’s area of concentration and Final year Thesis
The main objectives of the program include, but not limited to:
a) Providing the necessary high-level manpower for metals and materials industries that are rapidly developing;
b) Providing Materials Engineers capable of effecting changes to imported technologies to meet local needs through research and development;
c) Providing manpower for the development and sustenance of materials science and engineering program in the nation’s institution of higher learning;
d) Training graduates that are self-sufficient as job providers and serving the parts needs of our industries;
e) Providing a solid base for the pursuit of higher degrees (M.Sc, Ph.D);
f) Identifying the limitations of our students and to make a real effort at providing compensating corrective measures and,
g) Making continuing reappraisal of our curriculum to ensure its consistency with the goal of the training for national development within the allowed parameters of time and resources.
PROSPECTS FOR GRADUATES
The professional challenges encountered by materials engineers are almost limitless, especially in developing countries where most of the materials for industrial manufacture are imported. Companies which are prime producers of metals and alloys like the resuscitating Ajaokuta and Aladja Steels, the Rolling Mills and Ikot-Abassialuminium smelters are especially in need of metallurgical engineers. Additionally, all processing industries and those engaged in the manufacture of metallic and non-metallic products require the services of metallurgy and materials engineers. This includes the oil and gas industries where corrosion, welding and parts replacement are imminent. A lot of the graduates could be self-employed with their own foundries and other metal manufacturing industries and, in consultancy, research and development or as lecturers in tertiary institutions.