Hans-Henning Kausch


Biography and current work


After his nomination in 1976 Prof. Kausch had the triple mission to represent polymer materials within the Department of Materials (DMX) by creating a Polymer Laboratory, teaching polymer science and technology to students of three sections (DMX, DC, DMI) and to develop his research on the micro-mechanics of (thermoplastic) polymers and composites, in particular on the role of chain backbones in static and dynamic stress transfer, and on the nature of thermo-mechanical damage mechanisms (disentanglement, chain degradation). For this a variety of analytical, physical and mechanical methods (including fracture mechanics methods) were used (and in part developed).
In view of the enormous span of polymer technology a second polymer chair was created within DMX in 1990 and Prof. J.A. Manson nominated professor of Technology of Polymers and Composites (LTC).
Since his retirement in 1998 Prof. Kausch is active as author and editor.


Born in Hamburg on Dec. 1st, 1939, Henning Kausch was raised in Pomerania and – after the war – in Hamburg, where he started to study physics. At the university of Göttingen he obtained his diploma in physics and – in 1960 – a Dr. rer. nat. in nuclear physics.

Nevertheless, his first industrial engagement – and his entire professional career – was dedicated to the then relatively new science of macromolecules. Following 5 years at the Mannesmann-Forschungsinstitut in Duisburg, where he investigated the thermo-mechanical aging mechanisms of PVC- and PE-pipes, Kausch spent 3 years as post-doc in Minneapolis and at the California Inst. of Technology in Pasadena and 7 years at the Battelle Institute in Frankfurt. In this period he continued his research of the micro-mechanics of deformation, crazing and fracture of polymers. He also engaged himself in professional societies (German Physical Society, International Congress on Fracture).

In 1976 Kausch was nominated Professor of Polymers in the newly created Department of Materials Sciences of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The laboratory which he had founded there, became well known for its innovative studies on the role of chain backbones in craze initiation, interdiffusion at interfaces and during high rates of loading. More than 20 PhD theses, some 200 publications and several books testify to his creative activity, for which he was awarded the Dr. honoris causa of the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in 1998.

Through his research and his multiple engagements in international professional societies (e.g. as Chairman of the Section of Macromolecular Physics of the European Physical Society EPS, and member of the Council of the Groupe Français des Polymères, of the Max-Planck-Institut für Polymere in Mainz and of the Institut für Polymerwerkstoffe IPW der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) as well as Regional Editor of the Advances in Polymer Science for more than 30 years and through the organization of numerous congresses Hans-Henning Kausch-Blecken von Schmeling has strongly influenced macromolecular science in Europe during this period.

Henning Kausch is married to Karin, born Gosselaar, former Judge at the Court of Appeal of the State of Hesse in Frankfurt; they have two adult children.

Hans-Henning Kausch