Department was created in 1989 based on the laboratory of the same title. Its starting activity concerned research and development of carbon and nitrogen steels. In relation to carbon steels the main point of scientific interest was the behaviour of cementite under cold work. The task was an improvement of plasticity resource for cold-worked carbon steels. Decomposition of cementite originated from interaction between dislocations and carbon atoms during cold work was found and studied in detail, and some ideas of steel development preventing this phenomenon were proposed and realised (monography V. Gavriljuk, “Carbon Distribution in Steel”, Kiev, Naukova Dumka, 1987, articles and patents in the eighties-nineties).
In the eighties the substitution of carbon by nitrogen in stainless austenitic steels was studied aiming initially at improvement of corrosion resistance and strength of stainless wire and ropes. In 1989-91 department has become the leading scientific organisation in the project “Nitrogen Steels” of the USSR State Programme “Perspective Materials”. Along with development of high nitrogen steel for wire, some tasks were solved concerning steels for medical instruments and tubes for inclinometric systems used in oil production. In the nineties, main physical principles of high nitrogen steels as a new class of engineering materials were developed mainly in fruitful collaboration with Chair of materials technology, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (Prof. Hans Berns) and summarised in V. Gavriljuk, H. Berns “High Nitrogen Steels”, Springer, Berlin (1999).
Starting from 1991, other scientific direction, hydrogen in stainless steels, was studied in cooperation with Laboratory of engineering materials, Helsinki University of Technology (Professor Hannu Hänninen) and further profoundly with Laboratory of physical metallurgy and engineering materials, Lille Universite des Sciences et Technologies, France (Prof. Jacques Foct). Since 2002 this direction is headed by Dr. V. Shivanyuk.
In 1999, the third scientific group was created for studies of recently discovered (1996) magnetic shape memory alloys. Dr. N. Glavatska heads the group. Now this group fruitfully works with research and development of smart Ni- and Co-based materials in cooperation with Laboratory of physical metallurgie and materials science, Helsinki University of Technology (Prof. Veikko Lindroos) and Hahn-Meitner Institute, Berlin (Dr. R. Schneider)