The History of ibac Reflects the Evolution of Construction Engineering


As Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University, commented in his congratulatory speech,”the history of the Institute of Building Materials Research reflects the evolution of construction engineering very well.” The Institute was established in 1948, when it was mainly concerned with the reuse of rubble as building material. Today, with annual external funding in the amount of about 3.5 million euros, the Institute is one of the largest insitutions of the Faculty of Civil Engineering.

Other speakers at the event included Professor Markus Oeser, Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, and Dr. Klaus Feuerborn, managing director of Campus GmbH. While Oeser emphasized the many positive contributions of the Institute to the Faculty, affirming its role as an important change agent, Feuerborn provided an overview of the RWTH Aachen Campus, which is developing into one of the largest technology-oriented research landscapes in Europe: about two billion euros are being invested to provide a unique platform for the collaboration between science and industry.

Former researchers at the Institute highlighted important stages of ibac's development: As former Institute director Hans Rainer Sasse reported, in the difficult period after the Second World War, "the premises of the institute were full of rubble and debris, and its was our task to investigate how this material could be used for rebuilding and redevelopment purposes."

The Institute saw significant growth in the 1980s, while the 1990s was marked by the development of new material testing techniques. These required interdisciplinary expertise and, as a result, researcher from outside the field of civil engineering were appointed to the Institute, includeing chemists, mineralogists, and physicists.

Today, as Junior Professor Anya Vollpracht highlighted, the Institute is characterized by a strong international outlook. Professor Michael Raupach, the interim director of the Institute, provided an overview of current projects, such as the ongoing modernization of the Institute’s infrastructure and equipment fleet. Concerning its future direction, Raupach said that the Institute will continue to address a wide variety of fundamental and applied research topics, focusing in particular on materials testing and monitoring.

The festive event was followed by the 45th Aachen Building Materials Day, which took place the next day and comprised a number of lectures on current research projects conducted at the ibac. The Aachen Building Materials Day also offered an opportunity for discussions and to exchange experiences.