The initial step to the foundation of IVW GmbH as a non-profit research facility of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate for the research and advancement of applications and the potential use of composites was taken in 1986 by Dr. Georg Gölter, then Minister of Education of the state Rhineland-Palatinate, by setting up a commission.
In 1990 the institute was established and
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Neitzel,
who had a successful history in BASF’s F&E area,
was appointed as managing director.
At that time the institute employed 12 scientists and administrators as well as 3 guest scientists and scholarship holders. Their offices were located in 3 different buildings with a total area of 740 m2 at the University of Kaiserslautern and another 480 m2 in the Technologiepark Kaiserslautern.
The institute was provided with the newly erected building 58 on the university campus with approx. 6,000 sqm laboratory and office space in 1991. In 2003 followed an expansion by a “demonstration and application” center in the industrial area of Kaiserslautern with 1,200 m2 space.
Furthermore, the facility and equipment technology of the three technical scientific program areas Component Development, Materials Science and Manufacturing Science were gradually improved, in order to perform important development work for many composite applications from principles up to prototypes in a 1:1 scale. The acquisition of third-party funds increased from 20,000 DM in 1990 to 10 million € in 2019.
The Institute for Composite Materials (IVW) has been accepted into the large family of renowned Leibniz institutions by the Leibniz Association's membership decision on November 26, 2020, effective January 1, 2021, and will now operate under the new name "Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH".
In close cooperation with the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering of the University of Kaiserslautern the curriculum was also gradually expanded. “Introduction to Composites” by Prof. Klaus Friedrich was one of the first lectures offered at the IVW in the winter term 1992/1993 for students of the University of Kaiserslautern.
Today the institute offers about 43 semester hours/week of lectures and laboratories. In 1993 the first of meanwhile over 180 dissertations was submitted. The institute with its fields of competence has step by step become established as an important research facility in the area of polymer composites, nationally as well as internationally.
With a permanent staff of about 120 full-timeequivalent employees the institute also represents a significant economic factor for the region. The international team of scientists – approx. 18 different nations work at IVW – mostly consists of engineers, chemists and physicists, complemented by guest scientists.