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International 2016 Materials Education Symposium

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Materials Education in a Value Chain Approach

Dr Margarethe Hofmann-Amtenbrink | Mat Search Consulting and 2015 President of Federation of European Materials Societies, Switzerland

Materials Education in a Value Chain Approach

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Education in Materials Science and Engineering in the last decades became more complex as the industrial sectors for which materials are of importance like communication, transport, energy, construction or health are demanding more and more functionalities of materials, components or final products. In energy applications the number of elements per product has doubled in the last 100 years from about 20 to about 40 elements per product. To reach the defined functionalities more and more exotic and critical elements are needed. For this reason materials experts should not only search for solutions in how to achieve functions or properties using certain materials combinations and processes but also should answer questions raised about the source of materials and their availability (criticality of materials), their environmental impact (possible toxicity) and the end of life of a product (materials recycling). This includes also ELSI questions (ethical, legal and societal issues) about the conditions under which materials like rare earth elements or other critical elements are mined, energy is used and polluting emissions are produced and under what conditions products like e.g. cell phones are dismantled and recycled. Master and PhD thesis should include a chapter on "materials risks" to allow engineers and scientists to deal with such questions in their later career and to think about alternative solutions.