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 Department 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 Department 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 Department 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 Department of Materials. These include:
- textiles and paper
- corrosion and corrosion prevention
Textiles and paper were two of the original departments formed when the Mechanics Institution was created in 1824. When UMIST was established in 1966 - which later merged with The Victoria University of Manchester in 2004 - both were still influential in educating students for major global businesses.
Corrosion and corrosion prevention studies have a long tradition in Manchester and in the 1960s underwent major expansion as the Corrosion Science Division within the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMIST. In 1972 the division was established as the Corrosion and Protection Centre.
Manchester boasted two metallurgy departments in the 1960s: one at The Victoria University of Manchester and the other at UMIST. In 1975 the joint departments of Metallurgy and Materials Science were created within a new purpose-built facility.
The Department of Polymer and Fibre Science was established at UMIST in 1962. The department was reorganised in 1981, which saw textile chemistry staff moved into the textile technology department and the formation of separate departments of paper science and polymer science and technology.