Metallurgical Engineer

Use different metals to design innovative products.

What does a Metallurgical Engineer do?

Were you the high school student who regularly stayed behind in metal shop, or got caught messing with your dad’s tool bench? Do you have a creative spirit, and a talent for molding metal into new designs? If so, metallurgical engineering might be right up your alley.

As a Metallurgical Engineer, you work with a variety of metals to design new products, refine the collection process, and create different blends of metal to suit specific needs. The process starts deep within the earth, where metals have settled over millions of years. If you specialize in mineral processing, you find new, more effective, more efficient, or more earth-friendly techniques for pulling those metals out of the earth.

Another area of specialty is called extraction. In this field, you start with metal ore–a combination of metal, water, and other materials. Your job is to design methods for separating metal from the rest of the components, with consideration for the environment. This process takes place in labs, refineries, and steel mills.

The third main category of metallurgical engineering is referred to as physical metallurgy. This is the field where you create new metals for specific products and construction.

Often, you are charged with creating metal alloys, which are a combination of a metal and another ingredient. For example, brass is a combination of copper and zinc. These alloys are then used for a variety of products, from hair barrettes to steel beams to car frames. If it’s metal, or can be, you’re the best person for the job.