The Evolution of Materials Science in the Commercial Sector

The earliest applications of materials informatics began in government and academia, by scientists aiming to improve their materials research. These include projects from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, like the Materials Genome Initiative and the Materials Data Repository, or the German University of Bonn’s Pearson’s Crystal Database (which today contains hundreds of thousands of data sets and chemical formulas on crystal structure). As a number of exciting studies caught the attention of the commercial sector, many industrial manufacturers decided to make their own attempts at better structuring materials properties and experiment results into a centralized database. They hoped it would drive more advanced statistical learning and data analytics methods in their research, ultimately helping them get better materials to market faster.

Many of today’s biggest multinational materials companies, like Dow Chemical, BASF, and Evonik, have announced major partnerships with IT companies. These initiatives are centered around applying machine learning methods, data mining, and artificial intelligence to materials development, embracing technology to stay competitive.

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