Metallurgical Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Metallurgical Engineering

Metallurgical Engineering involves the study, innovation, design, implementation, and improvement of processes that transform mineral resources and metals into useful products that improve the quality of our lives. Metals provide the foundation for our modern way of life.  We need metals to generate electricity to drive our electronic age society as well as for vehicles, buildings, machines, and home appliances.  Metals come from minerals that must be physically separated and chemically processed in order to transform them into the important products we use everyday.  Metallurgical engineers work to meet the mineral and metal product needs of our modern civilization in an environmentally responsible way by designing processes and products that minimize waste, maximize energy efficiency, increase performance, and facilitate recycling.

What is Metallurgical Engineering?

Metals and mineral products surround us everywhere, every day - at home, on the sports field, in our autos and SUVs, at school and in the office or factory. They form the major components of buildings; aircraft, trains, ships, and even our mountain bikes; computer hard drives and artificial hips; cutlery, cookware, and utensils; coins and jewelry; trumpets, tubas and French horns; handguns and caissons; chainlink or barbed wire fencing; plumbing pipes and electrical wiring - the uses are endless! It is this strong dependence of our society on metals that gives the profession of metallurgical engineering its sustained importance in the modern world. Economic and technical progress into the 21st century will depend in large part on further advances in metal and mineral technology, in spite of the emergence of many new and exotic materials during the latter half of the 20th century. Metallurgical Engineering is the science and technology of processing materials to extract, refine and recycle metals. These processes include the development and use of metals and alloys that have specific physical properties. Metallurgical Engineering has three distinct branches:

What is Metallurgical EngineeringPhysical Metallurgy:

  • uses metal science to develop and use metals and metallic alloys for the millions of manufacturing activities that are undertaken every day to keep our modern technically oriented society supplied with the goods and machines that it needs to remain healthy.

Mineral Processing:

  • deals with the recovery of valuable mineral products, many of which contain metals, from the crust of the earth.

Chemical Metallurgy:

  • uses chemical processing at high temperature or in solution to convert minerals from inorganic compounds to useful metals and other materials.