Materials Science Engineer - Roanoke, VA

Date: May 29, 2024

Location: Roanoke, VA, US, 24013-1042

Company: Norfolk Southern Corp.

Requisition 37545: B4 Materials Engineer- Roanoke, VA 

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Department: Engineering

Location(s): VA-Roanoke, East End Shops


Work Conditions:

Environment:  Outdoor/Field/Lab/Manufacturing
Shift Work:  No
On-Call:  Yes
Weekend Work:  Occasional
Travel Required:  3 - 5 Days per Month


Job Description:


The Material Science Engineer will

  • Work with mostly ferrous materials and, occasionally, polymers
  • Provide failure analysis, new product evaluations, and product testing
  • Provide technical support for operations personnel
  • Perform on-site investigations/testing
  • Provide data analytics (Python)
  • Operate/maintain laboratory equipment and shop machinery
  • Participate on various industry committees and advisory groups


Principal Duties

  • Process projects through complete failure analysis cycle:  document incoming material, develop failure analysis plan, prepare samples for various tests (chemical, mechanical, metallographic), analyze data and write summary report.
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment, machine equipment, and supplies: spectrograph, hardness testers (Brinell, Vickers, Rockwell, Durometer), optical microscopes, metallographic mounting press, MTS Cycle Testing equipment, mounting press, polishing/grinding stations, chemicals, etchants, band saw, abrasive cut-off saw, swisher/grinder, and fork truck.
  • Possess ability to apply engineering knowledge to railroad operations to achieve project objectives.
  • Provide technical expertise to solve problems related to premature failures, production, welding, heat treatment, safety, and quality.
  • Provide failure analysis and expert investigation pertaining to incidents, which may or may not include litigation.  The incumbent must resolve questions of manufacturers’ responsibility in premature service failures, as well as determine whether structural components of equipment or track contributed to derailments.
  • Design and conduct field tests to evaluate real world environment for railroad components (including but not limited to rolling stock, maintenance of way, and fixed facilities).
  • Provide organized, documented, traceable laboratory work with a subsequent written report that is well-documented, factual, concise, grammatically correct, and presented in a logical format.
  • Respond to customer needs in a timely manner and meet departmental deadlines on project work.
  • Interface on technical issues with all levels of Norfolk Southern management, Norfolk Southern field personnel, and representatives of other railroads and of the rail supply industry.
  • Provide non-destructive testing (NDT) expertise
  • Represent Norfolk Southern on technical committees and advisory groups.
  • Must be willing to travel as required.


Job-related Experience 

Preferred: 3-5 years

Minimum Level:   Entry


Preferred Level: Master's Degree

Minimum: Bachelor of Science 


Required Majors:
Materials Science and Engineering

Metallurgical Engineering

Licenses / Certifications
Required:  None
- Professional Engineer License
- Six Sigma Black Belt

Technical Skills
Basic computer skills: Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint

Software: Python, MatLab, and LabView

Skills and Abilities
- Analytical Thinking
- Identifying and Considering Alternatives
- Planning/Organizing/Multi-tasking
- Decision Making
- Thoroughness

-  Clear communication both verbal and written

-  Willingness to work in diverse work environment: office, shop, field, laboratory, training

Career Path - Future Jobs
- Manager Materials Engineering

- Other Positions within Norfolk Southern

Company Overview

Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting


At Norfolk Southern, we believe in celebrating our individuality. By leveraging the unique backgrounds and viewpoints of our employees, we can create a culture of innovation, respect, and inclusion. We know that employees thrive in a workplace where differing viewpoints, ideas, and experiences are freely shared and valued. As such, we encourage all employees to contribute their distinctive skills and capabilities to our organization.


Equal employment opportunities are available to all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Together, we power progress.