The discovery of metals and alloys was most important mile stone for the human civilization after the invention of wheel. It changed the way human created tools and used them in the day to day life. In modern times, metallurgical engineering is most developed branch of the engineering and it deals with all aspects of metal production and development.
The students of metallurgical engineering have to study metallic properties, science of their formation and extraction of metals from ores. They also study how to form complex alloys to use in the fields of science, research and technology.
Metallurgy mainly involves metal production but the field has three distinct components:
1. Physical metallurgy: It is more application oriented part of the subject. It involves creation of various alloys for construction and other uses.
2. Extractive metallurgy: The students learn about what to do with tonnes of extracted ores and how to get maximum amount of metal from it.
3. Mineral process: After the extraction of metal, one needs to remove all impurities from the metal to make it stronger. This also involves getting necessary minerals from the earth’s crust.
To apply for the B.E. in metallurgical engineering course, an aspirant should pass his or her higher secondary certificate examination from science stream. Student can also major in the material science during engineering.
A student should have 50 percent minimum marks as a minimum qualifications criterion. In order to qualify for the seat in the course, he or she has to appear for State joint entrance exams (JEE) or All India Engineering entrance tests. Diploma holders can also apply too.
Apart from bachelor’s degree, getting a master’s degree, with choice of specialisation, will help for better career prospects in this field.
Essential skills for metallurgical engineer:
At the school and high school level, a student need to be extremely good in science subjects, especially – chemistry and physics.
At higher levels of study, apart from general problem solving skill and analytical abilities, the student should be well aware about the materials used in the industry and properties of metals in details. He should keep himself updated about the practical applications of metals.
Highly skilled jobs such as metal failure investigation work also requires technical expertise and excellent communication skills. A candidate should be able to write good project reports along with planning and organizational skills.
In India, almost all universities have same syllabus for a first semester in the engineering. The students of metallurgy get to learn specialized subjects in later semesters. It includes basic subjects like hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and physical metallurgy. Apart from theory, students learn flotation, corrosion and treatment to steel.
Why go for a career in metallurgy?
India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and construction sector is booming here. Along with that the rate of urbanization is rapid too. This means the country requires more steel, zinc and other such metals to sustain its growth.
India already has metal giants such as Steel Authority of Indian Limited, TATA steel, Jindal Steel and Hindalco Industries Limited. These big corporate names definitely need experts and skilled worker in this field.
Apart from metal making, other industries too have high requirement for metallurgical engineers, like – mining, aviation and car manufacturers. Even outside the country, Indian engineers are in great demand in these industries.