Materials Engineering

image of fatigue testing

The Materials Engineering Department applies advanced materials and analysis technologies to solve problems for clients, and develops new and better materials to enhance the performance of client products. The department is composed of approximately 75 staff members, including about 45 scientists and engineers.

  • The Mechanics and Materials Section develops and applies experimental and computational (deterministic and probabilistic) techniques to evaluate and predict the life, performance, and risk of failure of structures, mechanical components and engineered systems. Key strengths include mechanical characterization, probabilistic mechanics and uncertainty quantification.
  • The Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry Section focuses on solving client materials problems through bulk and surface modification, process enhancement, materials chemistry, and new material development, coupled with specialized testing, characterization and design of materials.
  • The Environmental Performance of Materials Section evaluates and assesses materials performance under a variety of environmental conditions with strengths in corrosion assessment, corrosion monitoring and sensing, high-pressure high-temperature testing, sour service testing and life prediction modeling.
  • The Materials Science and Failure Analysis Section conducts fundamental research in materials science and isolates the causes of catastrophic failure of components such as compressor components, diesel engine components, aircraft structures, heat exchangers, pressure vessels, piping and medical devices.
  • The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Section focuses on the fundamental understanding of the relationship between biological, mechanical, and damage evolution behavior of biological and biomaterials in order to quantify the risk of failure and injury. Considerable emphasis is focused on the hierarchical characterization of bone tissue material and mechanical properties in order to understand the relationship between mechanics and biology and to quantify the risk of bone fracture.

Ben Thacker, Ph.D., Director

Short Courses Offered by Materials Engineering

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.