History of polymer chemistry in Karlsruhe

The scientific field of polymer chemistry has a long-standing tradition in Karlsruhe, going back to the start of the 20th century. Well known persons in the field of polymer chemistry , e.g. H. Staudinger and W. Kuhn, have worked at the University of Karlsruhe.

At that time, the polymer chemistry was part of the institute of technical chemistry that was founded in 1872. The picture at the left shows a short survey of the motsd important historical dates and persons in the polymer chemistry in Kalrsruhe. More Information you can find in the following presentation  "Polymer Science in Karlsruhe over the last 150 years".


From 1967, the polymer chemistry existed as a separate institute, the institute of makromolecular chemistry. The first head of the institute was B. Vollmert (work on synthesis and reaktions of polymers, gas permeation through polymer foils, microgels and the structure of concentrated polymer solutions). Vollmert hold the chair until 1986.   
The appointment of H. Nimz (work on structur and modifcation of Lignin with synthetic polymers and applications of lignin) to the polymer institute (1968 - 1983) founded another professorship at the institute.
In 1990,  M. Ballauff  (work on functionalisied colloids and polyelectrolytes, stiff-chain polymers and scattering methods) assume the leadership of the polymer institute. In 1991, D. Schlüter (today ETH Zürich) was appointed to the chair of H. Nimz, G. Wenz (work on polyrotaxanes and cyclodextrines) followed him 1993 on this position.
In 2002, S. Höger (work on shape-persistent macrocycles, self-organising macrocyles and liquid crystals) takes the succession of G. Wenz.
In 2002, the instute changed the location. The old building located at the Ehrenhof (B. 11.30, see pic at the right) needs to be restorated. The institute is now located in a new building (B. 11.21, see pic at the left) and another building (B. 11.23) at the main campus of the university.


In January 2004, the Institute of chemical technology and polymer chemistry was founded by the fusion of the technical chemistry and the polymer chemistry. The new institute comes with four professorships, two of them located in the division.
In october 2006, M. Wilhelm assumes the leadership of the division polymer chemistry. Main research interests are non-linear rheological behaviour of polymers and method development in FT-Rheologie and solid-state NMR.
In July 2008, C. Barner-Kowollik took over the leadership of the division of preparative macromolecular chemistry. His main research areas are the synthesis of complex macromolecular architectures and the kinetics and mechanism of polymer formation processes.

2010 a additional working group in polymer chemistry was created at the institute of organic chemistry, M. Meier started the working group Angewandte Chemie. A resounding succes for the polymer chemistry could be achieved in 2016, the collaborative research centre "Molecular Structuring of Soft Matter" could be established at the KIT under the leadership of C. Barner-Kowollik. In December 2017, P. Theato took over the division "preparative macromolecular chemistry" from C. Barner Kowollik who changed to a position in Queensland, Australia.