Graz University of Technology emerged from the Joanneum which was founded by Archduke Johann and named after him. On November 26, 1811 the Joanneum was passed to the estates of the Duchy of Styria. And on October 18, 1864 it was elevated to the status of a university of technology.
In the academic year 1968/69 three faculties were founded: civil engineering and architecture, natural sciences, and mechanical and electrical engineering. The faculty of mechanical and electrical engineering offered the possibility to graduate in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, process engineering and engineering management. There were eleven chairs that belonged to the study of mechanical engineering at the time. The Chair and Institute of Turbomachinery II, Control and Motor Vehicles, and the Chair and Institute of Engineering Theory I were amongst these eleven chairs. Later, the college council decided to adapt these two institutes to fit changing needs.
By April 22, 1969 these chairs were merged and renamed to Chair and Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery. Its responsibilities were to represent the construction of thermal turbomachinery in teaching and research, as well as to continue its efforts in teaching machine dynamics and theory of the gear. And due to the then imminent constructions at Inffeldgasse, it would also be entrusted with the realization of a research laboratory for thermal turbomachinery.
A committee gathered in 1969 for the appointment of the professorship of the Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery. Out of 22 applications the following appointment proposal was made: 1. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Herbert Jericha, 2. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Irolt Killmann, or 3. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Buxmann. On October 6, 1970 o. HProf. Dr.techn. Herbert Jericha took over the institute from o. HPROF. Dr. Kurt Bauer.
The staff consisted at that time of four academic assistants and a secretary. Initially there were only three office rooms available; later a room in the basement was used as a workshop and laboratory.
In 1975 a request was filed to rename the institute to Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery and Machine Dynamics. This was justified by the fact that a course in machine dynamics was defined as part of the teaching duties of the institute. The equipment acquired allowed specific work in this area and much work had already been carried out for the Austrian industry. Also the combination of thermal turbomachinery and machine dynamics proved to be favorable for the institute’s research as for the construction of thermal turbomachinery besides fluid flow and thermodynamics also machine dynamics plays an important role. This request was granted by the beginning of the academic year 1980/81.
The relocation to the new building at Inffeldgasse took place in August 1986. Three years later, on January 24, 1990 (20 years after the start of the construction) the laboratory began operation. In the next 3 years the necessary technical equipment were acquired so that the construction of the planned test rigs could be started.
On 21 December 1992, the state building authority gave the institute the compressor plant MTI-TTM that consisted of two turbo compressors and one screw compressors that made it possible for the first time to realize large scale transonic tests and confirm the results of the research that was up to that point only theoretical and numerical.
The concept of the test rig was developed very soon after the institute was founded. It was derived from the necessities for the execution of the institutes foreseen research activities. In August 1983, the tender text was drawn up and in the same year the contract was awarded to a consortium of companies. In the year 1986 the construction of the individual components of the system was started. From the initial run in 1990 to the official bringing in to service another three years were needed to overhaul the compressor and optimize the individual control strategies. Finally, the work regarding the entire system with compressor and cooling were completed eighteen years after the start of the planning.
In 1994 an interdisciplinary research of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) was initiated that was dedicated to increasing the efficiency and reducing emissions of thermal power plants. It allowed research on the fundamentals of thermal power generation. ITTM was assigned four of the eleven projects that were defined.
An improvement of the measurement methods utilized in the institute was achieved in 1997 through the acquisition of the most modern non-contact, optical measurement devices based on laser technology for the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of flow and vibration.
Today ITTM is one the leading institutes actively contributing to the research and development in the field of thermal turbomachinery working on the newest developments and using the most modern techniques.