In the founding year, the Material Science was already represented by the Chair of Mechanical Technology at the Rhine-Westphalia Polytechnic School in 1870. The former chair holder, Prof. G. Herrmann, was teaching the right processing of metals, wood, as well as other materials like paper, rubber and leather. In 1906, Prof. Dr.-Ing F. Rötscher resumed as head of the Advanced Chair for Mechanical Components and Mechanical Technology; he arranged a setup of a laboratory for mechanical technology in 1908, which was housed within the laboratory of civil engineering. In 1934, new premises have been assigned to his chair, which has been a rearranged, former monastery. In 1940, Prof. Dipl.-Ing. E. Bödderich was following as chair holder of this institute, who has been transferred to Posen, and as a result, the whole facility was lost.
After the Second World War
After the 2nd World war and the reopening of the university, the gravely damaged buildings of the monastery and in Marienbongard were provisional fixed. 1946, Prof. F. Bollenrath was chosen to be head of the Institute of Mechanical Components and Mechanical Technology and became appointed to the chair in 1948. Prof. Bollenrath brought several testing machines of the German Experimental Station of Aviation, DVL, with him, so scientific research could be on-again. 1949 the research fields Material Science and Mechanical Components were separated.
1950 till 2000
Because the numbers of students in mechanical engineering increased by factor 5 between 1949/50 and 1959/60 and the ruinous state of the buildings, a new building for the Institute of Materials Science was planned an opened in 1960. Starting in 1966, Prof. Dr.-Ing. H. Böhm was in charge who was followed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. A. Troost. 1970 the Material Science for Mechanical Engineering was divided because of a high demand of education and a second chair was founded using the same building; chair leader was Prof. Dr. techn. O. Knotek. In 1980, the Field of Teaching and Research Material Science, WW, with Prof. Dr. techn. E. Lugschneider and Mathematical Models in Material Science, MMW, with Prof. Dr.-Ing. J. Betten got well-established. After retirement of Prof. Troost 1988 and Knotek 1991, there was a break in allocation which was taken by Prof. Dr.-Ing P. Beiss. The former separated chairs were combined once again. The departments MMW and WW were transferred to the Field of Education and Research in 2004 and the Surface Engineering Institute in 2005.
The growing importance of ceramic components in mechanical engineering had led to the conclusion that a special institute should be founded, which happened in the early years of the 1980 decade. Following an unsuccessful advertisement, Prof. Dr.-Ing. H. Maier could finally answer the call to build up this new field of research. Because of the growing need of space for equipment and hardware, the primary chosen moderate premises were insufficient even after a short time. Because of this, the activities in the field of ceramics have been separated to a greater laboratory and office building in the Nizzaallee and the technical center in the city.
As a result of structural alteration inside of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the RWTH Aachen, the Institute of Materials Applications in Mechanical Engineering, IWM, has been founded in the year 2006. The new institute is a combination of the Institute of Materials Science, IWK, and the Institute of Ceramic Components, IKKM; in 2007 the Field of Education and Research, LFW, accompanied as well. At this point about twenty scientific associates are employed at three different locations.