Manufacturing News

World-first research facility for carbon fibre innovation

The Australian Government will invest $37 million to develop a world first Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) at Deakin University.

The project will support: more than doubling of laboratory space from 1500m2 to 4000m2; three additional research groups; 220-270 additional researchers; and 50 additional Australian and international research collaborations.

The project will also allow the co-location of 86 CSIRO researchers, and will provide 120 onsite jobs during the construction period.

The new centre will reportedly draw together Australia’s world-class expertise in fibre science and materials technologies, and position Australia as an international hub for new materials industries.

Carbon fibre is a defining material for 21st century manufacturing with applications for the textile, automotive and aviation industries, the project organisers claims. It is used in products like cars, planes, wind energy machinery, offshore oil and gas facilities, pressure vessels and protective apparel.

There are currently 950 firms manufacturing carbon fibre composites in Australia. The value of domestic production is estimated to be $3 billion per annum.

The centre will involve four research platforms: Carbon Fibre Manufacture and Materials Technology; Nano-Fibre Discovery – Characterization and Application; Green Natural Fibres; and Smart and Functional Fibrous Materials.

The project planning is in progress, with construction scheduled to commence in December 2010 and be completed by September 2012.

The investment is part of Round 3 of the Education Investment Fund (EIF). The Australian Government is investing $4 billion through the EIF in Australia’s tertiary education and research infrastructure.

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