Learn how to process ores, separate valuable minerals into concentrates, produce and purify metals, manufacture metals into products, create materials, and join materials together.
As one of the oldest programs at Montana Tech, the Metallurgical & Materials Engineering (M&ME) program continues to fulfill the historical mission of The School of Mines and Engineering as well as the needs and interests of mineral- and metal-related industries while simultaneously addressing those of the materials industries in order to provide a broad and quality education with an appropriate blend of theory and practice so students can successfully and confidently enter into a career and contribute to the profession and society.
When U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed the Enabling Act of 1889, Montana became the 41st State of the Union. As part of this Act, a land grant of 100,000 acres was allotted for The Montana School of Mines (MSM). In 1893, The Montana Legislature established the Montana University System (MUS) and, in 1895, created The State School of Mines Commission to prepare and specify plans for its construction. Read about our history.
Metallurgical & Materials Engineering is an exceptionally broad field that encompasses five disciplines. With:
- Mineral Processing, the engineer takes advantage of differences in physical and/or chemical properties to develop, manage, and control processes for liberating, separating and concentrating valuable minerals from associated waste rock;
- Extractive Metallurgy, the engineer produces and purifies metals from ores, concentrates and scrap (recycling) using hydrometallurgy (water chemistry), electrometallurgy (electrochemistry), and/or pyrometallurgy (thermal chemistry);
- Physical Metallurgy, the engineer processes the metals into products by, for example, alloying, forging, casting, and powdering to control chemical, physical and mechanical properties such as corrosion resistance, strength and ductility;
- Materials Processing, the engineer applies similar principles as the above to develop the best materials for applications involving ceramics, glasses, composites, and polymers as well as certain minerals and metals; and
- Joining/Welding Metallurgy, the engineer is concerned with joining materials together, particularly metals, to produce efficient joints with minimum damage to the integrity of the materials being joined.
Together, these disciplines are nicknamed the chemical and process engineering of minerals, metals and materials. Courses in each discipline are offered and, in this manner, the program retains its School of Mines heritage but has evolved to include the five disciplines to keep pace with the changing needs of industry and society. This ultimately has increased the breadth of the program and allowed course contents and research efforts to include environmental remediation, sustainable industrial processing development, recycling, maintenance engineering, forensics, biomaterials, corrosion, nanotechnology, and aerospace materials development, to name a few.
The M&ME Department will attract and retain the highest quality engineering students in order to provide resource-based industries with minerals, metals and materials process engineers while maintaining the heritage of Montana Tech. The department will sustain coveted programs with broad, hands-on learning experiences, supported by industry, in order to research and provide solutions for the future needs of society. Graduates of the program will be contributing members of the community, have a passion for excellence, and be recognized among the world’s most versatile engineers.