Mission


© Klaus Pichler/ÖAW

The Erich Schmid Institute of Materials Science (ESI):

  • Performs cutting-edge research setting the ground for new material concepts.
  • Educates outstanding students and scientists in Materials Science.
  • Collaborates with leading industrial and scientific partners.

The institute concentrates its research currently on Structural Materials (e.g. steel, alloys, composites, biological materials), Materials for Information Technology (flexible metal-polymer systems, thin film structures, n-BaTiO3), Materials for Energy and High Temperature Applications (refractory metals, intermetalllics), and novel Bulk Nanocrystalline Materials (e.g. nano-composites, magnetic nano-materials, nanoporous materials). ESI is pushing the frontiers in understanding microstructure – property relationships by combining advanced experimental and modelling techniques. This is a huge challenge since the length scales involved in materials science span nearly ten orders of magnitude, from atomic structures to macroscopic devices and components.

Erich Schmid


Erich Schmid, an Austrian physicist after whom the Institute is named, was born in Bruck an der Mur in 1896. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna and received his PhD there in 1920. After several research years in Berlin, Frankfurt, Fribourg (Switzerland) and Hanau, he became a full professor at the University of Vienna in 1951. Over many years he carried out fundamental work for the materials physics area and is regarded as one of the most important pioneers in crystal plasticity.

1935 - Schmid‘s law on the Critical Resolved Shear Stress (CRSS):
When a single crystal is deformed under for example a tensile stress, it is observed that plastic deformation occurs by slip on well-defined parallel planes. Sections of the crystal slide relative to one another by dislocation motion. To move a dislocation, a certain stress must be applied to overcome the resistance to dislocation motion.

”Metal crystals can be deformed plastically without changing their crystal structure.”

Erich Schmid, 1935