Materials Innovations for Manufacturing

Report Summary

Materials technologies are involved at every step of the manufacturing process from novel feedstocks to shaping technologies, to advanced sensors, and ultimately, to high performing products. Innovations in materials science and engineering offer enormous potential to boost next-generation manufacturing in the United States. This can mean new job-creation, new solutions to technical challenges, and even the birth of new industries.

In partnership with MForesight, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) recently convened leading experts in the materials and manufacturing community to identify areas of innovation that are likely to have significant impacts on the next wave of U.S. manufacturing.

The upshot of these efforts is a newly-released report: Harnessing Material Innovations to Support Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies. The report highlights enabling materials science and engineering innovations that offer special promise across seven advanced manufacturing opportunity areas:

Opportunity: Analytics for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) and Sensors

Enabling Innovations:

  • Novel sensing technologies and real-time sensing
  • Data mining, compression, storage, and management
  • Predictive modeling tools for NDE and sensors

Opportunity: Joining of Dissimilar Materials

Enabling Innovations:

  • Multimaterial design, modeling, and rapid characterization tools
  • New candidate processes and materials for multimaterial joining applications
  • Solid-state and deposition-based joining processes

Opportunity: Machine Learning for Accelerated Materials Discovery and Design

Enabling Innovations:

  • Machine-readable data formats and schema
  • Rapid data generation
  • Computational screening and machine learning approaches

Opportunity: Qualification for New Materials and Processes

Enabling Innovations:

  • Framework of best practices for materials qualification
  • Model-based qualification approaches for computational materials testing
  • Sensors and data-driven analytics to enable rapid qualification approaches

Opportunity: Next-Generation Conductive Materials

Enabling Innovations:

  • Superconducting materials and novel covetic nanomaterials
  • Coatings and dielectric insulators
  • Conductive materials for energy storage and harvesting

Opportunity: Materials for Smart Manufacturing & Digital Thread Technologies

Enabling Innovations:

  • Sensors to measure detailed materials processing data
  • Materials data management, analytics, and intelligent decision making
  • Computational materials modeling tools

Opportunity: Smart Materials

Enabling Innovations:

  • Novel smart materials and manufacturing methods
  • Modeling and data analytics

America has an unmatched history of manufacturing innovation. For more than a century, this has been the foundation of the country’s competitive advantage in the manufacturing sector. Today, there is great potential for materials innovations to help usher in the next generation of manufacturing technologies. Given the extraordinary range of opportunities, however, it’s important to prioritize. We hope that this new report will advance the conversation as the materials and manufacturing communities come together to identify the specific areas of innovation that offer the greatest potential.

Download & read the report: Harnessing Materials Innovations to Support Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies


MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight is America’s “think and do” tank. We focus on accelerating technological innovation and aligning research and development opportunities with national priorities to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.