Within the Department of Materials Science, research is done at the highest international level, to achieve a detailed understanding of the structure and the properties of materials and materials systems. In teaching, students are integrated as early as possible in research activities, to gain new insights by joint research of supervisors and students. The obtained findings are transferred to the society via publications, to establish a solid knowledge basis for future applications. International visibility of the Materials Science area at Montanuniversität Leoben stems from a supercritical size, which necessitates the completeness in methods available to us and in the materials classes covered.
Prof. Dr. Roland Mitsche
Prof. Dr. Roland Mitsche (1903-1978) was the first Chair of the Institute for Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing, which was founded in 1940. Besides establishing the Institute, he initiated among others the following scientific events: the International Conference on Metallography in Leoben, the International Conference on Light Metals in Leoben and Vienna, and the annual Colloquium on Physical Metallurgy in Lech/Arlberg. In addition, he was great in admiring arts, culture and sports. He was one of the founders of the former Institute of Soft Skills and Sports and the Art Contest at Montanuniversität. Prof. Mitsche retired in 1973, but he still chaired the Institute for additional two years, till his successor was implemented. In 1973, the areas Metallography and Materials Testing were established at the Institute, which were active till the implementation of the University Law (Universitätsorganisationsgesetz) 1993.
Prof. Dr. Hellmut Fischmeister
In 1975, Prof. Dr. Hellmut Fischmeister (1927 - 2019) was appointed as the successor of Prof. Mitsche. Before that, Prof. Fischmeister was Professor for Physical Metallurgy at Chalmers Technical University in Gothenburg, Sweden. He laid special emphasis on quantitative metallography, powder metallurgy, fracture mechanics and the development of high-temperature materials. In 1981, Prof. Fischmeister accepted an appointment as Director of the Max-Planck-Institute of Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany.
Prof. Dr. Franz Jeglitsch
Prof. Dr. Franz Jeglitsch (1934-2016) was initially heading the area Metallography at the Institute of Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing. Then he was acting as scientific-technical Director and Manager at the Austrian Research Center Seibersdorf. In 1980, he was appointed as Chair of the Institute for Technology and Metallurgy of Non-Ferrous Metals at Montanuniversität. In June 1982, he accepted the position as Professor at the Institute for Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing. Prof. Jeglitsch has been the rector of the Montanuniversität from 1987-1991. Between 1991 and 2000, he was active as a delegate of the Styrian Government, where he was responsible for research and development of the industrial area of Upper Styria.
Prof. Dr. Albert Kneißl
After retirement of Prof. Jeglitsch with September 2002, Prof. Dr. Albert Kneißl (born in 1952) was chairing the Institute for a short period of time. Prof. Kneißl was appointed as Professor in Metallography in 1996. His work focused on solidification of monotectic alloys under terrestrial and space conditions, on micro-alloyed steels and on shape memory alloys. From 2000 till 2003, he was serving as the First Vice-Rector of Montanuniversität. He retired with September 2012. With January 1st 2003, during his service as Institute Chair, the Institute was renamed to Department of Physical Metallurgy with the Chair on Physical Metallurgy and Metals and the Chair on Metallography.
Prof. Dr. Helmut Clemens
Prof. Helmut Clemens (born in 1957) was appointed in July 2003 as the successor of Prof. Franz Jeglitsch and as Professor for Physical Metallurgy and Metals at Montanuniversität, heading both the Chair and the Department. Formerly, Prof. Clemens was successfully engaged in the development of intermetallics (titanium aluminides) at Metallwerk Plansee, before he accepted positions as Professor at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and later as Director and Professor at the Forschungszentrum Geesthacht near Hamburg, Germany. During his service as Chair, the Department moved to a new building, the IZW (Impulse Center for Materials).
Prof. Dr. Christian Mitterer
With March 1st 2001, the Chair of Functional Materials and Materials Systems was allocated as third chair to the Department, and Prof. Christian Mitterer (born in 1962) was appointed as new Professor. His focus is on surface functionalization of tools and components for automotive, aerospace, display and energy technology applications. Formerly, Prof. Mitterer was engaged as Docent for Surface Engineering at the Chair of Physical Metallurgy and Metals.
Prof. Dr. Ronald Schnitzer
In 2015, the Chair of Steel Design, which is funded by the FFG and the Austrian steel industry, was allocated to the Department and Prof. Dr. Ronald Schnitzer (born in 1981) was appointed as new Professor. Formerly, he was employed at voestalpine Böhler Welding Austria as the head of the Research and Development Department.