In the first months of 1946, the Department of Metal Science and Material Science was created within the structures of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The first head of the Department was Professor Marian Sieńkowski, Eng (before the World War II he was employed in the Institute of Metal Science at Warsaw University of Technology).
In the first period of its activity, the Department of Metal Science and Material Science catered for the didactic needs of all the faculties whose curricula included metal or material science. In 1948 the Department obtained a few metallographic microscopes, non-powered equipment for the preparation of metallographic specimens and Rockwell hardness tester. This allowed the Department to conduct the metal science laboratory works; however, it was not sufficient to engage into scientific research activity. The research works undertaken by the Department’s staff covered steel for the shipbuilding industry and the properties of aluminium alloys for precipitation hardening.
In 1956 the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was subject to re-organization caused by the constantly growing number of students. Two new Faculties were formed in its place: the Faculty of Machinery and the Faculty of Machine Technology.
The Department of Metal science was included in the structures of the Faculty of Machine Technology. The scientific research is focused on the phenomena of diffusion, wearability of alloys for bearings and on new materials for the shipbuilding industry. The construction works regard a prototype machine for testing the wearability of materials.
In 1960, the long-lasting Head of the Department of Metal Science, Professor Marian Sieńkowski, Eng, retired. Due to the fact that none of the staff members was able to take up the position of the Department’s Head (on the grounds of the lack of appropriate degree), Leon Drehrer, Assoc. Professor, MSc, Eng, (head of the Department of Machinery Material Technology) became the scientific supervisor of the Department. Professor Drehrer held the position from 1960 to 1963. In 1963 he was replaced by Professor Kornel Wesołowski, PhD, Eng, the Head of the Department of Material Science at Warsaw University of Technology. Professor Wesołowski held the post until 1965. During his term the Department underwent significant development in terms of scientific and organizational activity. The surface area of the Department’s premises increased, so did the number of the employees. Also, the laboratory equipment was renewed and scientific research works intensified.
The scientific research works involved ferritic cast iron for magnet cores, the plastic working of aluminium bronze, wear of the working surfaces and case hardening of gear wheels.
In 1965, Professor Andrzej Zimniak, PhD, Eng, joins the staff of the Department and becomes its head. With the new head in office, the change of the field of interest and scientific profile of the Department ensued. The didactic range was widened with the problems regarding the plastic working of metals.
In October 1964 further organizational changes took place. The structure of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering included two institutes: I – Institute of Machinery Material Technology and Welding, II – Institute of Machinery Production Technology.
Former Department of Metal Science became the Unit of Metal Science and Heat Treatment and, together with the Unit of Welding and Unit of Plastic Working, was taken into the structures of the Institute of Machinery Material Technology and Welding.
In 1972 the position of the Head of the Department of Metal Science and Heat Treatment was entrusted to Witold Dowda, PhD, Eng, Associate Professor. The scientific research themes included: the phenomena of diffusion; diffusion coatings technology; tests on the heat resistance of steel; optimization of the heat treatment of maraging steel; testing the erosion resistance of construction alloys.
In 1980, Professor Zbigniew Zaczek, PhD, Eng, became the Head of the Unit of Metal Science and Heat Treatment. Simultaneously, Professor Zaczek was the vice principal of the Institute of Machinery Material Technology and Welding.
In 1982, Professor Zimniak retired and the position of the Head of the Unit was taken by Professor Stanisław Butnicki, PhD, Eng, who held the post until 1984. During his term in the office, the scientific and research profile of the Unit remained unchanged, however it was complemented with the works on the steel for anchor chains in cooperation with ZUO SEZAMOR Słupsk and the research on the weldability of steel with increased strength in cooperation with Stocznia Gdańska (Gdańsk Shipyard).
In 1984, Professor Zaczek PhD, Eng, yet again took the position of the Head of the Unit of Metal Science and Heat Treatment. In this period the scientific research works intensified significantly, the number of the doctoral students increased and lasting cooperation with the Institute of Fluid Flow Machinery of Polish Academy of Science started. In 1992, due to organizational changes connected with the ceasing of the Institutes’ activities, the Units were transformed into Department. The Department of Metal Science and Heat Treatment was re-established.
The scientific research works in that period included the following issues: implementation of quenched and tempered steel sheet in the shipbuilding, development of new steel for anchor chains – 3a steel which did not required quenching and tempering, testing and research of heat resistant steel and cast steel for chemical industry.
In 1994 Andrzej Zieliński, PhD, Eng, Full Professor of GUT, former organiser and head of the Department of Shipbuilding Materials and Overhaul Technology of Gdynia Maritime University joined the staff of the department. One year later he replaced retired Professor Zaczek on the position of the Head of the Department. In 1995 the department’s name was changed into the Department of Materials Engineering.
The Department’s scientific rank was increased significantly. The process of gradual re-orienting of the scope of research and individualization of the research projects leading to the faster completion of the habilitation procedure and awarding of the scientific degrees was initiated. In this period, the scope of the scientific research included in the first place the issues regarding environmental damage, such as strain corrosion fracturing of aluminium alloys and austenitic steel, hydrogen embrittlement of steel for ship hulls, fatigue of alloy steels supported by hydrogen, cavitation and cavitation-induced erosion, ageing in the chemical industry, post-impact properties of polymer composites and also the issues connected with the multi-compound coatings, fatigue of large-size structures, as well as the recycling of polymer composites.
In the period 1995-2000 the research resources of the department increased significantly: the department purchased (as third institution in the country) the most modern environmental scanning electron microscope ESEM-50 produced by Philips, featuring electron microprobe and software for 3D image visualization.
In 2000, the President of the Republic of Poland awards Andrzej Zieliński the title of the Professor of Technical Sciences, in the field of materials engineering. In 2003 the degree of PhD of technical sciences in the field of fabrication and operation of the machinery was awarded to Jerzy Łabanowski and Waldemar Sebiński. The latter’s initiated the expansion of the premises and didactic resources of the Department. The Department obtained a number of rooms in new building Nanotechnologia B (Nanotechnology B). The laboratories obtained the most modern research and testing equipment with which the most advanced research can be conducted.
After 2010 the Department received all the premises of the building Centrum Nanotechnologii B (Centre of Nanotechnology B), accommodating auditorium, two lecture theatres, design hall and 11 laboratory rooms. At the same time the Department obtained most advanced apparatus, such as scanning electron microscope produced by JEOL, micro CT scanner, nanoindenter, impulse laser, new equipment for material science and biomaterials laboratories. Due to the project entitled Centre of Advanced Technologies the department obtained Realizer machine for producing innovative titanium implants using 3D printing method.
In 2013, the position of the Head of the Department was entrusted to Marek Szkodo, PhD, Eng.