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 Material Science is the “Mother of Industry”, which involves the study of a wide variety of materials including metals, ceramics, polymers, composite materials, thin films, nano materials, and functional materials. These materials can be applied to semiconductor, electronics, optical, biomedical, and the recently booming clean energy-related industries. Studies involve investigating the physical, chemical or structural properties of the above-mentioned materials and their development and applications are considered within the scope of Material Science.

               

    The Department of Material Science and Engineering not only won the competition of Top Department in National Cheng Kung University in two consecutive years, but also received outstanding achievement in cross-university competitions. According to indexes of number of research papers published in SCI, SSCII, A&HCL and the Highly Cited Researchers references databank compiled by the Department of Library and Information Science, National Taiwan University, the Department of Material Science and Engineering, NCKU is ranked number one in the area of material science in Taiwan and number 31 in the world (Posted in Chinatimes on September 23, 2004). Moreover, the Department of Material Science and Engineering, NCKU also ranked number one in Taiwan for the publication of metal and ceramic-related thesis recorded by National Science Council. According to the “Analysis of Academic Achievement Index of Well-Known Universities in the World” led by Professor Chi-Chuan Hwang of NCKU and supported by College of Engineering and Office of Research and Development, NCKU, the Department of Material Science and Engineering, NCKU is ranked number 5 in Asia.

 

    The research development direction of the Department of Material Science and Engineering, NCKU was determined by individual or research groups based on the needs of national science and technology development while the characteristics of the Department was also taken into consideration. Important aspects of the research direction in each area are described as below: 

 

(1) Metals                           

    The Department of Material Science and Engineering has a long history in conducting metal-related researches and has received outstanding achievements and complements from industries and academics over time. The research direction is aiming towards the development of alloys with light-weight, high-strength, high ductility and toughness properties. In-depth studies on processes such as foundry, powder metallurgy, welding, reprocessing, and thermal treatment will be conducted. Moreover, computer simulations will be adopted to the development of metals and the design of various alloys. These developed materials can be applied in metal, smelt, aerospace and car industries as well as electronics, biomedical and energy-related industries.

              

(2) Ceramics                                             

   The Department of Material Science and Engineering is known for its excellent faculty in the area of ceramics and has received good reputation worldwide. Ceramics is mainly divided into two categories of advanced ceramics and regular ceramics. Advanced ceramic is considered emerging in the area of material science for the 21st Century since it has several unique properties such as high thermal resistance and corrosion resistance. Therefore, advanced ceramics has recently been developed by many countries in the world. We will continue to develop technologies relating to powder manufacturing, powder annealing, electronic ceramics, mechanical ceramics and biomedical ceramics and apply these technologies in advanced electronic devices, medical equipment and green materials.

 

(3) Polymers              

    The focus of polymer technology of the Department of Material Science and Engineering is on the studies of opto-electronic polymer materials (polymer light-emitting diodes, polymer solar cells, photo-resists, etc.), low-dimension structural polymers, crystal and physical properties of polymers, and organic/inorganic nano-composite materials. These polymer materials can be applied in environmental protection and energy-related researches in the future.

 

(4) Composite Materials   

    Today, a single material can no longer meet the technology demand of a rapidly changing world. Therefore, developing composite materials with unique and excellent properties is the only solution for this problem. The Department of Material Science and Engineering is currently developing composite materials by mixing metals and ceramics. The applications of composite materials include aerospace material, car engine material, wear-resistance material, and electronic material.

 

(5) Opto-Electronic and Electronic Materials

    Opto-electronic and electronic industry is one of the major industries supported by the government of Taiwan. The Department of Material Science and Engineering has research capability in developing a wide spectrum of electronic and opto-electronic materials and has excellent achievements. The researches include development of electronic devices for integrated circuits, electronic thin-films, and dielectric materials, development of opto-electronic devices and light-emitting materials, development of green electronic materials, application of next-generation nano materials in electronic and opto-electronic devices, and development of inkjet printing related technologies.

 

(6) Biomedical Materials                    

    The Department of Material Science and Engineering has a long history in conducting biomedical material and medical equipment related researches. By combining the resources from College of Medicine, a research team with biomedical characteristics and the capability to develop biomedical applications was convened. Currently, our research is mainly focused on hard-tissue material, such as bone replacement or repairing materials for orthopedics and dentistry, tissue engineering and soft-tissue materials, and the development of novel medical equipment.

 

(7) Energy Materials

    The topic of green energy has been widely studied by many advanced countries in the world. In this regard, the development of crucial materials is one of the keys to realize clean energy. The Department of Material Science and Engineering has been carrying out researches on the development of novel materials relating to fuel cells, solar cells, and lithium ion batteries, hoping to strengthen our technical capability and incubate more talents for the future needs.

 

(8) Magnetic Materials      

    Among all the universities and colleges in Taiwan, the Department of Material Science and Engineering owns the finest faculty in magnetic material development. Most of our researches from now on are carried out in compliance with the National Technology Development Plan, such as the development of microwave communication devices, permanent magnets, magnetic memory materials (magnetic tape, magnetic head, magnetic disc), and magneto-optical materials.

 

(9) High-temperature Superconductors

    The term superconductor is used to describe a material that exhibits zero resistance at a certain temperature. Such material can be applied in a wide variety of applications. Some examples of its application include high-speed maglev train, super large magnet, electricity delivery, electroencephalography test, integrated circuits, and military applications. The Department of Material Science and Engineering has been working aggressively on the development of superconductor materials via various methods such as thin-film fabrication, powder preparation, and single grain growth, hoping to obtain high-temperature superconductor with high stability.                

                                                                          

(10) Anti-Corrosive Engineering and Surface Treatment

    Corrosion is a natural occurring phenomenon. It costs a lot of money due to corrosive damages every year and is by far the most costly natural phenomenon. The Department of Material Science and Engineering is well-known for its anti-corrosive studies and has helped industries solve many of their problems. Currently, our research is focused on the stress corrosion, corrosion fatigue, and high-temperature corrosion of aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, stainless steel, and super alloy. Moreover, we also study the surface treatment technologies for metals, namely chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, plasma coating, laser surface treatment, and hot-dip coating.

 

(11) Advanced Material Analysis

    Material analysis is the key technology for investigating material properties. As the size of novel materials and devices get smaller, high resolution and high accuracy analytical techniques become essential. The Department of Material Science and Engineering is the leader in high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM), surface probing analysis, and crystal lattice identification in Taiwan and has accomplished many outstanding achievements in terms of practical applications.

                                                                                                     (12) Computer Simulation

    The use of computer for calculation is popular nowadays. Therefore, using computer for material design and process development has become mainstream method. Not only computer simulation can reduce the amount of time and money spent for conducting experiments, but also obtain valuable information which is difficult to get from running the experiment. The Department of Material Science and Engineering has performed studies on computer simulations relating to thermal dynamics and kinetics. We have some fine research groups in Taiwan specializing for computer simulations.