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National R&D Institute for Non-ferrous and Rare Metals - IMNR

Research Center

Bulevardul Biruinței nr. 102
077145 Ilfov


IMNR, established over 50 years ago, is a national R&D institute active in the field of materials science and engineering based on non-ferrous and rare metals (alloys, composites, hybrids) and applied inorganic chemistry, aiming to further research for the efficient use of resources and critical materials substitution, and develop high-tech applications in sensors, security, energy, automotive, aerospace, medicine, waste management, etc.

The institute’s main research directions include: technologies for advanced metal-based materials and their compounds; new chemical processes for processing primary and secondary resources (solubilization in autoclaves in controlled atmosphere, microwave processing); mild chemical methods for the synthesis of advanced nanomaterials (oxides, composites, hybrids): hydrothermal / solvothermal at high pressures, spray drying, encapsulation and core-shell materials; new technologies for capitalizing advanced materials (coatings and thin films by EB-PVD, and thermal evaporation depositions, electro-deposition in aqueous solutions and molten salts, hydrothermal-electrochemical deposits with real-time RAMAN monitoring). The quality of its R&D results has led to the institute's continued presence in international projects funded by programs such as: NATO-SFP, FP5, FP6, FP7, Horizon2020 and bilateral co-operations.

Through the Technology Transfer Center for Advanced Materials CTT AVANMAT, IMNR aims to implement and capitalize on the results obtained in the R&D activity in the field of biomaterials, intelligent materials and sensors, increasing competitiveness, and supporting long-term economic and social development.

IMNR also aims to extend and strengthen its partnerships and collaborations with the European scientific community. Currently IMNR is coordinating the SUPERMAT Virtual Center, is a member of 1 EU Association (SPIRE), 1 EU Alliance (ERMA), 1 EU Network (CircLean), 4 COST Action Networks (ITHACA, CRM-EXTREME, BIONECA, HERALD), 4 European Technology Platforms (NANOFUTURES, NANOMEDICINE, RAW MATERIALS and RAW NANOVALUE), 3 national clusters (MHTC Magurele, ROHEALTH, PROECO-CBRNE).

IMNR has implemented a quality management system (ISO 9001:2015), an innovation management system (SR 13572:2016), and is accredited by RENAR for laboratory analyses.

National R&D Institute for Non-ferrous and Rare Metals - IMNR

National R&D Institute for Non-ferrous and Rare Metals - IMNR

Contact Person
Ioana Vlaicu
Head of Technology Transfer Center
is SME contact

Pilot installations, developed and built in-house:

  • Pilot installation for functional testing of phase change materials for thermal energy storage: allows the pilot scale measurement of the storage and heat transfer capacity of inorganic phase change materials with working temperatures in the range of 300-500⁰C;
  • Prototype plant for smelting non-ferrous metal waste and treating gases / noxious substances in a microwave field (5L crucible; max. temp. 1,400⁰C).


HIGH PT-MET Center (Research Centre for the Intensification of Metallurgical Processes at High Pressures and Temperatures) - main equipment:

  • Electron beam installation (TORR Int. Inc., USA): allows deposition on rotating 3D plates or rods with a length of max. 350 mm; simultaneous or multilayer deposition of thin films; heating substrates during deposition; (W, Ni, Co, Cr, Al, Y), dielectric materials (Al2O3, SiO2, ZrO2, etc.) and compounds;
  • Thermal evaporation deposition installation (TORR THE5-750W, Torr Int. Inc., USA), inox, 5 resistive evaporation systems of max. 100 A, deposition thickness control with a quartz crystal microbalance, rotation of parts during deposition up to 20 rpm, deposition on several small pieces or a single piece of 100 mm diameter, deposition of thin films of up to 5 elements (Al, Ni, Cr, Ag, Au), metal-organic, alloys and compounds;
  • Continuous and discontinuous flow autoclave (AMAR EQUIPMENTS PVT Ltd. India), inox, volume 20L, temperature max. 250°C, pressure max. 30 atm, continuous and discontinuous operation;
  • Hydrothermal synthesis autoclave (BERGHOF, Germany), inox, volume 5.5L, temperature max. 300°C, pressure max. 150 atm;
  • High pressure autoclave (HP Systems, France), inox, volume 1L, temperature max. 180°C, pressure max. 4250 atm, Controller PID, compressor FIAC AB100/350MC with two pistons and pressure of max. 10 atm;
  • Spray-dryer (LabPLANT, UK), borosilicate glass, suspension flow rate 4-32 ml / min, air temperature 40-250°C, air flow 5-30 m3/h, air pressure 1-3.5 atm, option to change the length of the drying path, filtering system for particles below 10 μm;
  • Inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometry, ICP-OES (Agilent 725, Agilent Technology, USA): performs a high number of analyses on a wide range of samples including metals, ceramics, plastic, glass, geological and environmental samples.


Advanced and Nanostructured Materials Laboratory - main equipment:

  • 3D Printer Bioplotter ENVISIOTEC: rapid prototyping from thermoplastic melts up to 250°C (PCL, PLLA, PGLA), from hydrogels (agar, gelatine, collagen, chitosan), from two component systems (alginate, fibrin), from ceramic pastes (hydroxyapatite, tricalcium phosphate), metal paste (titanium) or other materials (polyurethane, silicone, acrylate, graphene, etc.);
  • 3D Printer Bioscaffolder SYSENG: rapid prototyping of pastes at low temperature;
  • Computerized hydrothermal electrochemical system for the production of nanocrystalline powders and nanostructured thin films, consisting of: autoclave CORTEST (2.2L stainless steel/teflon autoclave, max. 304°C, max. 250 atm, possibility to work under inert gas atmosphere, electrodes system connected at potentiostat/galvanostat Radiometer PGZ100), autoclave SAM (1L and 2L stainless steel/teflon autoclave, max. 300°C, max. 250 atm, possibility to work under inert gas atmosphere), potentiostat / galvanostat radiometer PGZ100 / Voltalab 10 and Booster Radiometer;
  • Continuous micropilot installation for synthesis by unconventional hydrolytic procedures and colloidal sol-gel, consisting of: a 50L glass cascade reactor complex, Bibi Stirling D4000 distiller, Direct Q3 UV Ultra-Pure Water System, pH Meter / Computerized Conductivity Meter Jenway 4330, high-capacity electronic agitators, filtration systems, vacuum pumps;
  • Characterization equipment: differential scanning calorimeter Neztsch DSC F3 Maia; UV-VIS PG Instruments T90 + spectrometer; FT-IR spectrometer, ABB MB 3000; Zetaseizer ZS90 laser and zetapotential granulometer; equipment for contact angle determination Drop Shape Analyzer DSA100, KRÜSS; scratch tester with AFM mode, NANOVEA; SV-10 viscometer;
  • Induction melting furnace: melting and casting in vacuum/controlled atmosphere, Linn High Therm GmbH, molds in a controlled atmosphere;
  • Electrolysis facility in aqueous solutions: potentiostat/galvanostat with digital control; electrolysis cells set with heating and shaking capacity; Glove Box Brown MB-20G enclosure with controlled atmosphere (argon or nitrogen); thermostatic heater, max. temperature 300°C; magnetic stirrer with heating, peristaltic pump, analytical balance;
  • Electrolysis facility in molten salts: DC-rectifier type R-CCT R / m, max. 12V / 600A; Tacussel PRT 10-20X potentiostat type, max. ± 20V / ± 10A; molten salts electrolysis cells 0.3-30dmc, max. 1200°C; drying installation – purification of inert gases (argon, nitrogen); anode gas detection and analysis apparatus (CO, CO2).
  • High temperature metallurgical facility: CTF 12/100/90 vertical electric furnace, with digital programming; airtight enclosure for melt treatment with controlled atmosphere; hydraulic press 6tf, mold press for metal powders 20x30mm;
  • Ultrafast melt-spinning solidification equipment, consisting of: frequency generator, inductor, melting crucibles, cooling disk (copper), laser tachometer.


Metal Resource Valorisation Technologies Laboratory - main equipment:

  • Solubilizing installation: extraction and separation of non-ferrous and rare metals from primary and secondary resources by hydrometallurgical processes at laboratory scale;
  • High-performance optoelectronic spectrometer for fast metal analysis: spectrometric determination of the chemical composition of metals; analysis of small pieces with different forms, e.g. wires >0.5 mm, metal splinters, screws, washers or even small balls;
  • U-WAVE-1000 Microwave-ultraviolet-ultrasonic Synyhesis 3 In 1 Extraction Reactor: multifunctional chemical reactor that can combine random overlap and adjust the microwave energy, ultraviolet light and ultrasound waves;
  • Dentar Oven Vulcan Type 3-350 Heat treatment furnace: heat treatments applied to amorphous-crystalline phase transformations of thin layers;
  • Semi-pilot plant for liquid-liquid extraction: extraction and separation of non-ferrous and rare metals from solution by liquid-liquid extraction.


Analysis Laboratory - main equipment:

  • X-RAY Diffractometer Bruker - AXS D8 Advance;
  • Atomic Absorption Spectrometer AAS ZEEnit 700, Analytic Jena AG;
  • Thermal Analysis Equipment SETSYS Evolution, Setaram;
  • Potentiostat/Galvanostat, PGSTAT128N Autolab (Metrohm);
  • Scanning Electron Microscope SEM QUANTA 250;
  • Optical Microscope, Axio Imager A1m, Carl Zeiss Microimaging Gmbh;
  • MHT-10 Microhardness Tester, Anton Paar, with Vickers indenter.

Small-scale alloy manufacturing and processing services

  • alloy manufacturing: brazing alloys (Ag, Cu-P-Ag), soldering alloys (Sn-Pb, Sn-Pb-Sb, Sn-Sb), master alloys Cu-P, easily fusible alloys (AF50, AF70, AF90), antifriction alloys (based on Sn, Pb and Al), cast alloys (Cu-Sn and Cu-Sn-Pb), other alloys (Cu-Al, Cu-Zn, Pb-St, Zn, etc.);
  • alloy processing: wire / strip / bar / chip / electrode / plate / block alloy processing, Au, Ag, Zn, Al, etc. processing.


Analysis / characterization services

1. Chemical composition:

  • element detection: Cu, Co, Cd, Pb, Sb, Zn, Ni, Fe, Cr, Mg, Ca, Na, K, Rb, Li, Sr, Ga, In, Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, Rh by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS);
  • detection of approx. 70 chemical elements (in high, low and trace concentrations) by inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES);
  • volumetric and gravimetric chemical analysis: dosing Fe, Fe2+, Ca, Mn, Sn, Si, Ba, SO42-, CO2 etc.

2. Physical and Structural Characterization:

  • identification and quantification of crystalline phases; determination of crystallinity and crystallite size; characterization of crystalline structures: indexing, crystallization system, network parameters; detection of micro-deformations - by X-ray diffraction for powders;
  • mineralogical analysis by optical microscopy in polarized, reflected and transmitted light;
  • metallography by optical microscopy;
  • VICKERS microhardness;
  • morpho-structural characterization by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) / Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS);
  • particle size analysis and electrokinetic potential of nanoparticles – DLS method;
  • structural analysis by FT-IR method (available for solid, liquid and thin film samples);
  • surface analysis by AFM method (atomic force microscopy);
  • scratch test;
  • contact angle measurement (determination of the hydrophilic / hydrophobic character of the surfaces).

3. Thermal analysis

  • thermal behaviour analysis of metals, powders by thermal analysis DSC-TG, 20°C – 1600°C;
  • thermal behaviour analysis of metals, powders by differential scanning calorimetry DSC, - 20°C ÷ 600°C;
  • analysis of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusion coefficient and specific heating capacity for molten materials (20 – 400°C).


R&D services - coatings / thin films

  • obtaining ceramic thin films by the hydrothermal – electrochemical method;
  • thin films deposition by thermal evaporation (Physical Vapour Deposition, PVD) – thickness up to 50 µ, deposition on flat surfaces 350x350 mm, or cylindrical surfaces: Ø = 150mm and L = 350mm;
  • thin films deposition by RF-magnetron sputtering (Physical Vapour Deposition, PVD) – thickness up to 1 µ.


R&D services – advanced materials         

  • thermodynamic and kinetic evaluation of processes for obtaining metal-based materials;
  • synthesis of ceramic and inorganic-organic hybrid nanopowders by hydrothermal / solvothermal process (nanostructured powders based on pure and doped oxides, and hybrid powders based on hydroxyapatite and polymers);
  • synthesis of ceramic and composite powders by hydrolytic processes (precipitation and coprecipitation): powders based on pure and doped oxides, metal-ceramic composite powders with a core-shell structure, etc.;
  • powder processing: sintered products, morphology control, heat treatment in air, controlled atmosphere (argon), vacuum;
  • obtaining stable suspensions based on ceramic powders;
  • research services in the field of additive manufacturing – 3D structures (3D-printing).


R&D services – exploitation of secondary resources

  • oxidation-reduction processes – reduction of sulphides of non-ferrous metals from concentrates, in aqueous, acidic or basic media, at high temperatures and pressures, in an oxidizing atmosphere in order to recover useful metals;
  • recovery of non-ferrous metals from scrap metal using a microwave melting process;
  • manufacture of non-ferrous alloys using secondary resources.


Technology transfer services - R&D results in the field of materials science and engineering available for transfer:

  • patents and patent applications;
  • products and technologies.


Training services (courses certified by National Authority):

  • ”Process improvement manager”;
  • ”Process improvement specialist”.
Other activities
- Chemical and structural analysis
- Small-scale manufacturing (alloys)
- Training
Service for Industry and SMEs