What is Metallurgical Engineering?
Metallurgical engineering deals with the design and development of techniques, methods, processes and equipment for transformation of metal from their ores to a form usable by the industry. It involves application of scientific and engineering principles to extraction of metals from ores; and their refinement, alloying, shaping, joining, corrosion protection and testing. Apart from producing metals and their alloys, it also involves determining their physical and chemical properties and analyzing causes of defects in them to work out possible solutions. The focus is on meeting the needed performance from the metals and alloys in real life scenarios in a cost-effective manner. A course in metallurgical engineering is focused on the application of chemistry, physics, material science, engineering fundamentals and computing to metallurgical techniques and processes. Further it also covers design, construction and management of metal production plants and equipment. It also includes methods of metalworking such as extrusion, casting, forging, welding, rolling etc.
How to Pursue the Course?
After scoring minimum 50% (in some cases, 60% or more) in math, chemistry and physics in class 12th; a student aspiring to be a Metallurgical Engineer has to write certain entrance exams. These exams are held at state and national levels. Some of these are: JEE Mains; JEE Advanced; MHT-CET in Maharashtra, WBJEE in West Bengal etc.
Some of the institutions offering an course in metallurgical engineering after class XII include NITs at Bhopal, Jaipur, Durgapur, Nagpur, Surathkal, Tiruchirappalli, Warangal, Jamshedpur, Raipur, Rourkela, and Srinagar; the IITs at Kanpur, Bombay, Chennai, Roorkee, Kharagpur, and Varanasi; the National Institute of Foundry and Forge Technology, Ranchi; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh and College of Engineering, Pune among many others.
From steel and aluminum in our utensils, to copper wires in our homes, to gold in our jewelry to silicon in the electronics we use, metals and their alloys, in a way or the other, are part of our daily life. As more and more new products are getting created and more and more people using them the demand for metals and their alloys is increasing. In addition, there is a demand to extract and produce rare metals for specialty applications which requires high degree of expertise. Meeting this demand calls for more extraction and production of metals and alloys, and is met only by a metallurgical engineers’ expertise. Therefore the demand for them too is increasing. A metallurgical engineer has a number of opportunities in research and development of metal based materials; process engineering, plant engineering, production, testing, metalworking etc. in India as well as abroad.
Remuneration always depends on the expertise, experience and skills of an individual. The college pass-outs in Metallurgical Engineering usually start with an annual income between 2.5 to 3 lakhs. But, if graduation is done from a reputed college the salary may be around 4 to 6 lakhs. With time, as experience is gained, a growth in salary and designation is likely to be achieved. There is also a big scope of getting jobs abroad where the salaries are several times higher.