• The buildings of the IfG Leipzig - Südwerkbunker (left) and the Kauengebäude (right)

    The buildings of the IfG Leipzig - Südwerkbunker (left) and the Kauengebäude (right)

  • The rock mechanical laboratory of the IfG Leipzig

    The rock mechanical laboratory of the IfG Leipzig

  • Drilling cores of the Leine rock salt (Na3)

    Drilling cores of the Leine rock salt (Na3)

  • Dimensioning


  • Large-diameter borehole experiment in Springen

    Large-diameter borehole experiment in Springen

  • Modelling of a cavern

    Modelling of a cavern

  • Subsidence over a	cavitary field (modelling)

    Subsidence over a cavitary field (modelling)


The Institute of Geomechanics GmbH (IfG) has emanated from the research department of salt mechanics of the 1961-1990 existing Institute of Mining Safety Leipzig (IfB) in the Supreme Mining Authority. It was founded after the reunification of Germany on 21.12.1990 by former employees of the IfB involving the Verbundnetz Gas AG, the UGS Mittenwalde, the profs. Fecker, Reik and Fröhlich, and KIB plan Erfurt.

The objective was

  • ensuring a much-needed continuation of rock mechanics studies for dimensions in the potash and rock salt mining, the custody of abandoned mine sites, the establishment of underground storage and for underground gas storage in salt caverns.

Requirement for this was the receipt

  • of the knowledge potential and personnel capacity, in particular the former Department "salt mechanics"
  • as well as the ability of work of the rock mechanical laboratory.

As Managing Directors of the IfG were Mr. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Menzel (retired in 2002) and Dipl.-Phys. Wolfgang Schreiner (retired in 2012) commissioned. The IfG started in 1991 with 12 employees.

Already at the beginning of 1991 the decision was made to acquire a discontinuum mechanical computer program (UDEC from the company ITASCA) and PC`s with mathematical co-processors. This was the foundation of the development of a high performance geo-mechanical modelling department. In addition, the laboratory equipment was improved for the growing requirements (e.g. the testing machines with the introduction of digital control technology or the heatable pressure cell for large samples).

During the first five years the IfG acquired the competition and acceptance on the area of rock-mechanics and geomechanics, especially on the field of salt mining, underground waste disposal and the underground storage of gas in Germany.

In the year 1998 the IfG was certified after ISO 9001 : 2000.

In the year 2002 Mr. Dr.-Ing. habil. Wolfgang Minkley, who completed his habilitation at the Technical University of Freiberg (Faculty of Geosciences, Geoengineering and Mining), took over the management of the Institute.

In 2003 a new rock mechanical shear test system (company MTS) was bought, which significantly improved the experimental possibilities. Currently all servo-hydraulical testing systems are equipped with a digital measurement and control device from MTS.

In January 2020 Dr. Ralf-Michael Günther borrows the managing director from Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Minkley. Dr. Günther completed a minig apprenticeship, studied geotechnical engineering at the TU Bergakademier Freiberg and received his doctorate in the fild of salt mechanics in 2009.

There are works on projects from the industrial sectors mining, energy, disposal site and building as well as public contractors.

Overall, the IfG can draw on more than five decades of continuous application of research in the field of rock mechanics. In the further development of salt mechanics the IfG has made over the past two decades significant new contributions in the following areas:

  • Tranisent inverse creep and relaxation
  • Rock mechanical description of time-dependent strain softening and post-failure behavior
  • Dynamic system stability and rock burst mechanism
  • Strength and integrity of the geological barrier
  • Transport properties of salt rocks and backfill
  • Discontinuum mechanical description of the saliniferous formation (numerical and expermental)
  • pressure-driven percolation in polycrystalline salt rocks (directional minimal stress criterion)