Business Impact

United States Slips in the Materials World

The United States has long been regarded as the international top gun in materials science. But the post-cold war shrinkage of U.S. military spending-and the resulting loss of the Defense Department’s generous support for materials research-is rapidly changing the balance of power.

A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine says the United States remains among the leaders in most areas of materials science, but for some key materials, including composites, catalysts, polymers and biomaterials, its leadership is eroding. The report, called “International Benchmarking of U.S. Materials Science and Engineering Research,” found that the United States is particularly weak in synthesis and processing research, and that some of its major research facilities are underfunded and outdated.

Arden L. Bement, professor of materials and electrical engineering at Purdue University and chair of the panel, says, “A lot of other countries are beginning to challenge in some very critical areas.”

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.