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Profile of KIT Steel and Lightweight Structures, Research Centre for Steel, Timbre and Masonry



The Research Centre for Steel, Timber and Masonry, (Versuchsanstalt für Stahl, Holz und Steine, VA) was founded in 1921 and consists of the KIT Steel & Lightweight Structures and KIT timber and building construction. The KIT Steel & Lightweight Structures is managed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Ummenhofer. Since its foundation, the Research Centre for Steel, Timber and Masonry has constantly adjusted itself to the requirements and tasks of science and research and applied its findings to practice

During its existence, the Research Centre for Steel, Timber and Masonry has established a leading position as a nationally and internationally renowned research institution and testing centre, as well as a high performance partner to industry. This is proven by many scientific publications and dissertations.

The collaboration of members of the Versuchsanstalt in national and international engineering standards committees, and the funding of their research projects by national and European establishments, industry, private companies and public authorities, emphasizes the qualifications of the Research Centre for Steel, Timber and Masonry.

By order of private and public clients, A number of expert reports have been made in the subject area of civil- and plant engineering according to the generally acknowledged rules of technology and to the state of the art of science and technology. In the subject area of construction inspection, theResearch Centre for Steel, Timber and Masonry functions as a testing centre and an inspection and certification authority.



The KIT Steel & Lightweight Structures is active in a large spectrum of research. There are co-operations with universities and industrial partners on a national as well as an international level. The focus of research is on:

  • welded connections of high strength steels
  • steel and cast steel connections
  • welding in cold formed zones
  • fatigue in crane structures
  • hollow section and tubular structures
  • offshore structures
  • shell stability
  • light metal structures
  • adhesive connections in steel construction
  • Thermography for non-destructive inspection, and as characterization of fatigue processes
  • monitoring
  • methods for post weld treatment
  • behaviour of adhesive joints in glass construction subjected to high frequency stresses.



In teaching, the chair of steel- and light metal structures provides lectures in the following subjects in civil engineering structures:

  • steel constructions
  • steel-concrete composite constructions
  • lightweight constructions
  • welding
  • steel and steel-concrete composite bridge construction
  • glass structures
  • cable structures
  • construction in plastic composites




The KIT Steel & Lightweight Structures is equipped with the most modern measuring equipment and testing machines. The services offered range from static component tests, fatigue tests, high frequency tests to structures and bearing strength tests on site. Minimal invasive inspection of existing structures, evaluation of bearing strength, inspections as well as monitoring of structures are part of our range of activities. A detailed listing of services is given here.