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School of Materials

North Campus old photograph aerial view

History and heritage

The world's first truly industrial city, Manchester has always been at the heart of materials design and manufacture.

Manchester is a city that stood at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and is the place where both the factory and computer were created. It was nicknamed Cottonopolis in the early 19th century due to an abundance of textile factories across the city, and has been pivotal in the development of industries such as engineering, textiles, metals and paper.

The University - and the School of Materials in particular - has played an important role in driving these forward, and the innovation and skill of our scientists, engineers, designers and graduates continue to help position Manchester as a true global hub.

From Cottonopolis to Graphene City

The School of Materials was formed following the unification of UMIST and The Victoria University of Manchester in 2004, with the fusing of the Corrosion and Protection Centre, the Manchester Materials Science Centre and the Department of Textiles and Paper. The Manchester Materials Science Centre - the old home of the School of Materials, which has since made way for the Manchester Engineering Campus Development Project - was formed in 1988 with the merging of the UMIST Department of Polymer Science and Technology and the joint departments of Metallurgy and Materials Science.

Different research areas have played a key part in the evolution of the School of Materials. These include:

  • textiles and paper
  • corrosion and corrosion prevention
  • metallurgy
  • polymers.