The Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Center at Sandia provides knowledge of materials structure, properties, and performance and the processes to produce, transform, and analyze materials to ensure mission success for our customers and partners, both internal and external to the laboratories.

The MSE is comprised of several laboratories, each providing unique capabilities with access to world-class equipment, technicians, and researchers.

The MSE provides the user access to the following broad classes of capabilities:

Scientifically Engineered Materials


We develop new and novel materials with defined properties or performance characteristics to meet our mission requirements. Scientific advancements are needed to understand how materials properties and performance under specified conditions depend on composition, microstructure, and preparation. New materials may be required to replace obsolete or unavailable technologies, meet new system requirements, or provide new functional capabilities, which are often unique to Sandia applications. We are increasingly interested in understanding and manipulating materials structure, synthesis, and properties at the nanoscale to create materials with enhanced or unique properties.

Materials Processing


We provide the knowledge base needed to understand, characterize, model, and ultimately control materials fabrication technologies that are critical to component development and production. New processing technologies, especially at the nanoscale and microscale, are being developed to support future needs. A thorough understanding of processing windows, based on fundamental knowledge and validated models, will enable greater responsiveness and predictability.

Materials Aging and Reliability


We develop the understanding of chemical and physical mechanisms that cause materials properties to change. The primary purpose is to develop mechanistic-based predictive models of materials reliability to support assessments of system reliability and lifetime. Important mechanisms that must be understood involve both the intrinsic thermodynamic drivers associated with the materials and extrinsic kinetic drivers associated with the environments in which the materials are used. Development and application of state-of-the-art materials characterization capabilities are needed to enable detection of early, subtle changes in microstructure and properties.

Materials Characterization


Materials Characterization serves our customers by helping them to better understand the structure, composition and properties of materials, by helping them develop better materials for their applications, and by helping them develop lifetime performance predictions for their materials. To accomplish this, we apply spectroscopic and diffraction techniques, light and electron microscopy, metallographic preparation, surface analysis, chemical analysis, thermal analysis, and mechanical analysis to characterize materials and components. We also act as a gateway to materials characterization capabilities within and outside of Sandia. We take pride in owning, maintaining, and utilizing to the fullest extent the best instrumentation available anywhere.

A description of some of the MSE Capabilities is available.