Metallurgy is the study of the properties of metals, and the application of this study to metal recovery, production, purification, and use.
Metallurgists are materials scientists who specialize in metals such as steel, aluminum, iron, and copper. They often work with alloys - metals that are mixed with each other or other elements - to create materials with specific desirable properties. They're also referred to as metallurgical engineers or material science engineers.
Metallurgical Engineering is a branch of engineering which deals with the study of science and art of metals and their properties. It includes areas of processing the metals and converting them into useful products. In other words, it is the study of physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds and their alloys. Metallurgical engineering comprises the application of technology to metals. Professionals in this field of engineering are known as Metallurgical Engineers or Metallurgist.
The main branches of Metallurgy Engineering includes extractive metallurgy, physical metallurgy and mineral processing. Extractive metallurgy as the name implies, is extracting metal from ore. In case of Physical metallurgy, metallurgical engineer prepares the sorts of metallic alloys needed for different types of manufacturing and construction works. Mineral Processing deals with the technology of processing mineral products after it is extracted from the earth crust in impure form.
As metals form an important part of our life owing to infrastructural developments, the job opportunities in this sector is increasing day by day. Metallurgical engineering is the backbone of industry for any country. Metallurgical engineers are required in every industry and enterprise that produces, buys, sells, refines or manufactures metals or metallic products. With experience and a higher degree they can reach top positions in management and research.
Those having metallurgical engineering qualification can get job opportunities in government as well as private undertakings. Metallurgical engineers are usually employed in metal extraction and processing units, construction companies, foundries, heat treatment shops, electrical companies and heavy manufacturing enterprises. Industrial establishments like Tata Iron and Steel Company at Jamshedpur, Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Hindustan copper limited, Hindalco limited and steel plants of Durgapur, Bhilai, Rourkela and Bokaro employ metallurgical engineers. Other industries and firms who recruit Metallurgical Engineers are Larsons Group, New Bharat Refractories Ltd., The Metal Powder Company Ltd., Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. NALCO, Utkal Mineral etc. Apart from industrial jobs, one can also find jobs in organizations or companies that carry out research in metal-related areas and become a consultant.
Another option is that of teaching, those with talent in teaching can join engineering institutes or IITs as professors or lecturers.
Minimum eligibility for a career as metallurgical engineer is a Bachelor degree (B.E/B.Tech) in the respective field. However most jobs require an advanced degree.
The eligibility criterion for admissions to a bachelor programme (B.E/B.Tech) is a 10+2 pass in the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as core subjects. Admission to these courses is highly competitive and only those with high academic performance in the board of examination i.e the marks secured in the final exams of 10+2 and in the entrance test can expect admission. Entrance to the IIT's is through 'JEE' (Joint Entrance Exam) and for other major institutions through AIEEE (All India Engineering/Pharmacy/Architecture Entrance Examination) OR their own separate entrance exams and other state level and national level exams.
Also one can go for the 3 year diploma course after 10th standard (SSC). There are also masters and PhD courses in metallurgical engineering. Applicants for postgraduate programmes (M.Tech) in metallurgical engineering are required to have completed B.E./B.Tech. or equivalent from a recognized University/Institution in related area and he/she has to qualify the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Entrance Examination. Candidates can advance their study further by taking up PhD in Metallurgical engineering to pursue research work. Many continue their education while on the job.
Students pursuing metallurgical engineering can specialize in physical metallurgy, thermodynamics, corrosion engineering, mineral processing, iron and steel manufacturing etc.
The ability to think analytically, a capacity for detail, and the ability to work as part of a team are the main requisites for one who wants to be in this career. As any other engineer, they should have an aptitude for science and math. Being able to communicate well and explain things to others is an important skill in engineering. The candidate should be hardworking, patient, good at organizing and solving problems. Good computer skill is also essential as they use computer technology to optimize all phases of research. Updating knowledge on a continuous basis is also required to succeed in this ever changing career field.
Salaries of metallurgical engineer largely depend upon the education and experience they have besides the location, and the kind of job they are involved in. A fresh graduate can earn a salary of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month excluding other allowances. In Government Sector, they do not get as much as in private sector. But they are suitably compensated by perks and other allowances like HRA, medical insurance, pension plan etc. Above all they command high status attached with the Government sector posts.
The salary increases with skills and experience. Fresh graduates from IITs and NITs get more salary as compared to other engineering colleges. Senior engineers can earn anywhere between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 50,000 with extra allowances. Lecturers in colleges can earn a starting salary of Rs. 15,000–Rs. 18,000 per month.