History and Development

The "Materials Testing Institute University of Stuttgart (MPA Stuttgart, Otto-Graf-Institut (FMPA))" is a central institution of the University of Stuttgart. It has been successful in materials testing and materials research in nearly all fields of mechanical engineering and civil engineering.
The founding of the MPA at the end of the 19th century corresponded with innovations and technological developments at that time and the necessity for testing materials and constructions. Until then, materials and constructions were predominantly produced and assessed in an empirical approach.

All the knowledge and skills were mainly passed on by word-of-mouth from one generation to the next and was the basis for trade and industry until the threshold of modern times. Consequently, the Kingdom of Württemberg made the effort to establish an academic chair for machine elements, steam-engines, steam vessels and theory of elasticity at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in Stuttgart.

Carl von Bach was the first to hold the chair in 1878. In 1884 the “Official Bulletin of the Kingdom of Württemberg” announced in its column “Clerical and Educational Affairs” the foundation of the Materialprüfungsanstalt in the area of mechanical and civil engineering at the Polytechnic Institute, Stuttgart. It was decreed that it was the duty of the Materials Testing Institute to serve the interests of industry and to promote education.

Fulfilling this task successfully has remained the MPA’s guide-line up until today, and requires a close combination of academic teaching within the framework of the University of Stuttgart with the approach of the MPA which is based on practice. With respect to the demands on this standard the close alliance between the MPA and the chair of materials testing, materials technology and strength of materials (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Weihe, professor in ordinary since 2014) and the Institute for Civil Engineering (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Garrecht, professor in ordinary since 2012) proved to be highly important.
The Professors of the both institutes are simultaneously heads of the Materials Testing Institute University of Stuttgart with Prof. Garrecht being in charge of the management at the present time.

Following the retirement of its founder, the Privy Counsellor Carl von Bach, in 1922, Richard Baumann, Professor of Theory of Elasticity and Strength of Materials, was appointed director of the Materials Testing Institute.

Increasing specialisation made it necessary to divide the institute into branches of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering. A full division was achieved in 1930 with the foundation of two independent institutes.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineering retained its original name “Staatliche Materialprüfungsanstalt” (MPA) (State Materials Testing Institute). Professor Otto Graf was the provisional head of the institute following the death of Baumann. In 1931 Erich Siebel took over as Professor of Materials Testing, Materials Science, Strength of Materials until 1940 and again from 1947 to 1961 as director of the institute. While Erich Siebel acted as president of the Material Testing Institute in Berlin-Dahlem between 1940 and 1947, Otto Graf was responsible for the board. Provisional heads of the institutes were Ulrich (up to 1944), Wellinger (up to 1945) and Gimmel (up to 1947). Karl Wellinger was appointed to Professor Siebel’s chair in 1961 and was director of the MPA until his retirement in 1976. He was succeeded by Karl Kussmaul, who was director of the MPA until 1998 when Professor Eberhard Roos took over as director.

The section Civil Engineering was renamed “Institut für Bauforschung und Materialprüfung des Bauwesens” (Institute of Building Materials and Materials Testing of Civil Engineering). Prof. Otto Graf was head of this institute from 1927 up to 1950. He like his successors held the chair and lectured constructional science at the University of Stuttgart. Friedrich Tölke was head of the institute between 1952 and 1969. During his time the institute was renamed “Amtliche Forschungs- und Materialprüfungsanstalt für das Bauwesen (FMPA-Bauwesen)” (Official Research and Materials Testing Institute of Civil Engineering (FMPA-Civil Engineering)). In honour of Prof. Otto Graf’s work the institute in 1953 was given the additional name “Otto-Graf-Institute”. Friedrich Tölke was succeeded by Gustav Weil (1969 to 1972) who again was succeeded by Gallus Rehm (1973 to 1990). During his directorship the FMPA-Civil Engineering was under the auspices of the “Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Mittelstand und Technologie Baden Württemberg” (Ministry for Economics, Trade and Technology Baden Württemberg) and called “Forschungs- und Materialprüfungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg (Otto-Graf-Institut)” (Research and Materials Testing Institute of Baden-Württemberg (Otto-Graf-Institute)). Simultaneously the Stuttgart and Karlsruhe branches of the Chemisch-Technisches Prüfamt (Chemistry and Technology Testing Office) became part of the FMPA BW. Under Prof. Reinhardt (from 1990 to 2003) in 2000 the re-integration of the Otto-Graf-Institute into the University of Stuttgart under the name of ”Forschungs- und Materialprüfungsanstalt für das Bauwesen, Otto-Graf Institut (FMPA)” (Research and Materials Institute for Civil Engineering, Otto Graf-Institute (FMPA)) took place.

With effect from 1st July 2003 the “State Materials Testing Institute (MPA) University of Stuttgart” and the “Research and Materials Institute for Civil Engineering, Otto-Graf-Institute (FMPA)” were reunited to form the "Materials Testing Institute University of Stuttgart (MPA Stuttgart, Otto-Graf-Institut (FMPA))" with the directors Hans-Wolf Reinhardt (until 2006), and Eberhard Roos (until 2011). The purpose of merging both institutes was to bundle the resources of both institutes by using the synergies and so increase efficiency and effectiveness in the field of materials testing and research. Furthermore, the new institute is to provide the constructive civil engineering institutes with improved experimental work. After Christoph Gehlen (2006 to 2008), the "Materials Testing Institute University of Stuttgart" has been headed by Prof. Stefan Weihe (from 2014) and by Prof. Harald Garrecht as Managing Director (from 2012).

  Directors of the MPA:

1884 - 1922  Prof. Carl von Bach      

1922 - 1927  Prof. Richard Baumann


Department of Mechanical Engineering
State Materials Testing Institute

Department of Civil Engineering
Research and Materials Testing Institute -
  for Civil Engineering -

1927 - 1931 Prof. Otto Graf (prov.)
1931 - 1940 Prof. Erich Siebel
1940 - 1947 Prof. Otto Graf
1947 - 1961 Prof. Erich Siebel
1961 - 1976 Prof. Karl Wellinger
1976 - 1998 Prof. Karl Kussmaul
1998 - 2003 Prof. Eberhard Roos

1927 - 1950 Prof. Otto Graf
1952 - 1969 Prof. Friedrich Tölke
1969 - 1972 Prof. Gustav Weil
1973 - 1990 Prof. Gallus Rehm
1990 - 2003 Prof. Hans-Wolf Reinhardt


2003 - 2011 Prof. Eberhard Roos  (Managing Director)
2003 - 2006 Prof. Hans-Wolf Reinhardt (Director)                           
2006 - 2008 Prof. Christoph Gehlen (Director)                                 
since 2012 Prof. Harald Garrecht (Managing Director)
since 2014 Prof. Stefan Weihe (Director)