Initially known as Naval Chemical & Metallurgical Laboratory (NCML) the laboratory was set up on 5th January 1953 in a small work centre admeasuring 6000 sq. ft. at Naval Dockyard, Bombay to render scientific assistance to Indian Navy for their day-to-day maintenance problems. Subsequently, R&D activities and many technologies in the field of underwater anti-corrosive and anti-fouling paints and Cathodic protection comparable to western countries were developed and accepted by the Indian Navy.
The scope of the laboratory widened in mid-seventies due to continuous interaction with the users i.e. Indian Navy. In 1995, Naval Chemical & Metallurgical Laboratory re-christening as Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) and was shifted to Ambernath from Naval Dockyard, Bombay in 1997.
Simultaneously, the thrust areas for R&D activities in areas such as High capacity fuel cell, Specialty polymers, Processing technologies for metals and ceramics, Advanced protection technologies, Chemical and biological means of environmental control have registered a noticeable growth during the late nineties. The excellent performance in the thrust area programmes led to DRDO approval of expansion and modernization of the laboratory, which resulted in the creation of full-fledged 60 acres Technical-cum- Residential complex at Ambernath. NMRL has been working for the last 6 decades primarily in the area of materials and technologies suitable for the marine environment.