“Metallic materials” in the Faculty of Materials Engineering

Prof. Simon Reichstein

Metallic materials are of paramount importance to Germany as a knowledge and production hub. About 20% of all jobs are in the manufacturing, or far more often the processing, of metals. Automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, toolmaking, and plant engineering in medium-sized and large companies are the traditional backbone of German industry.

In the bachelor’s degree programme in Materials Engineering, students are taught the fundamentals of metallurgy, with a focus on the basic mechanisms that are used in industry to give metals the properties for specific applications. For example, the course teaches students how steel hardening works and why casting alloys have fundamentally different chemical compositions than metals that are to be moulded. In addition, students gain an understanding of which metallic materials are used for what applications and why. In Germany alone, for example, there are around 2500 standardized steel grades, some of which differ greatly in terms of their properties. To illustrate this, we need only look to the fact that to cut steel, we use steel!

By taking the Metallic Materials specialization as part of the bachelor’s or master’s programmes, students will build on their basic knowledge with application-related specialist knowledge from the field of metals and the associated production processes. They will learn which materials-science effects are used for the different metallic material groups by combining material and production technology to manufacture successful products for the market. The “best” product is not the one with the BEST properties, but a product that is EXACTLY GOOD ENOUGH and can be produced at the lowest possible cost. The path to producing such products is addressed in advanced lectures using metallic materials as examples.