Materials Science

Two employees performing an experiment on a computer
In Materials Science
5 Year Forecasted Employment Growth
In The Region
Texas State Students
In Talent Pipeline

Materials Science

Materials science involves the use of the physical and chemical properties of a wide variety of materials, conductors and composites to create or improve end-products through research and production.

The materials science industry sector flourishes in the Texas Innovation Corridor because of the existing base of manufacturers and the fast-growing innovation capacity at Texas State University and its STAR Park research complex.

Key Materials Science Companies

Here are a few of the companies and employers within the Materials Science sector:

VFT is a global leader in Fiber Reactor separation technology with patent roots at Texas State University. VFT commercializes Fiber Reactor technology to enhance and improve manufacturing environments by increasing the efficiency of existing refining operations utilizing two-phase chemistry.

Basler Plastics, LLC, is a manufacturer of injection-molded plastic components. The company designs and builds molds and offers product development support, light assembly, and secondary services.

Ember Industries develops printed circuit assemblies, electronic and electromechanical devices, wires, cables, and wire harness assemblies. The company employs several technologies, including automated surface-mount technology, through-hole technologies, ball-grid array placement, automatic optical inspection, and in-circuit testing.

Signify is a manufacturer of outdoor lighting technologies in San Marcos.

Heldenfels Enterprises, located in San Marcos, manufactures and installs pre-cast and pre-stressed concrete structures which are used for highways and bridges, building systems, stadiums and arenas, and more.

Martin Marietta is an American-based company and a leading supplier of building materials in Hays County – including aggregates, cement, ready mixed concrete and asphalt.

Altra Industrial Motion is a designer and manufacturer of electromechanical power transmission equipment for industrial applications. Based in San Marcos, the firm is a recognized innovator of power transmission products, including various belted drive systems and alternating current (AC) inverters.

Thermon Engineering, an international company, has facilities in San Marcos that focuses on heat tracing, the external application of heat to pipes, tanks, and instrumentation.

Urban Mining Company, located in San Marcos, delivers high-performance rare earth magnet products to end-users that remove supply/price risk that threatens the development of high-tech, energy-efficient applications.

Texas State STAR Park
Incubating Start-Ups

Texas State’s STAR Park enhances the region’s employment base through the incubation of startup companies with expertise in materials science. In fact, nearly all the firms housed in Phase I of Texas State STAR Park (the STAR One building) are focused on materials science products, processes, and applications. Indeed, a key goal of STAR Park is to satisfy a regional demand for laboratory space from early stage companies.

Texas Star park Entrance
Texas State STAR Park
State of The Art Facilities

Because of its industry-friendly approach, less stringent intellectual property policies, and availability of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cutting-edge research equipment for contracted use, Texas State is becoming a more prominent player in the super-regional commercialization landscape.

Two specific Materials Science production firms incubating at STAR One are:

  • Quantum Materials Corporation, which manufactures tetrapod quantum dots for products like solar cells, lasers and photonic devices, computer memory, and storage devices. 

  • MicroPower Global, which produces semiconductor devices that convert heat directly into electricity. 

Student inside of the Star Park working on a computer
Key Materials Science Advantages
Major Research University

Texas State has made significant strides in its quest to become a major research university, including its reclassification as an Emerging Research University. The university is increasingly attracting research funding, including a $4 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which was added to a $4.5 million investment by Freescale Semiconductor to create, operate, and staff the Center for Multifunctional Materials. There, processes focus on information processing, high-density, light-weight information storage, more efficient solar power generation, and other computing approaches.

Unique Degree Programs

Among its many notable research assets is the university’s Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization (MSEC) program in the College of Science and Engineering, which has the some of the largest and best-equipped group labs for polymer and nanocomposite synthesis and characterization in the country.

Readily Available Research Facilities

The ability to access Texas State’s equipment, faculty, and students is a key draw for firms both inside and outside of STAR Park. Besides the previously referenced firms incubating at STAR One, additional companies – from startups to huge multi-nationals – have also partnered with Texas State to use the MBE and other machines either beyond their budgetary reach or infeasible to purchase. 

In addition to the research strengths found at Texas State, the Texas Innovation Corridor has access to the materials science-related talent and research produced at both the nearby University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Download a one page overview of the Material Sciences industry sector

Key Industry
Regional Distribution