Call for Papers for the Carbon Fibre Futures Conference



We invite submissions from all areas related to Carbon Fibre, Advanced Materials and Advanced Manufacturing. 

Submissions are invited under the following themes:
• Advanced Manufacturing and Processing
• Carbon Fibre Future Directions
• Innovative Materials of the Future
• Modelling and Composites Characterisation
• New Precursor Technologies
• Surface Modification and Carbon Fibre Characterisation
• Translational Research

To submit your paper all we need is the following: 
• Title
• Keywords
• Abstract (up to 500 words)
• A short Presenter Biography
• Presenter Photo

Get your abstract ready today and submit before the deadline of December 16, 2016. Notifications will be provided to authors at the start of 2017.

Submit here or visit the event website

Deakin research breakthrough for better carbon fibre polymers

A Deakin University researcher has improved the methods for the design and synthesis of high performance carbon fibre precursor polymers.

Dr Nisa Salim, a researcher within Deakin's globally unique carbon fibre research facility, Carbon Nexus, has developed advanced polyacrylonitrile polymers capable of producing fibres with enhanced structure and properties, using sequential distribution of monomers in conjunction with RAFT technology.

Dr Salim's breakthrough will enable the making of polymers that are capable of producing carbon fibres with enhanced structure and properties.

The improvements are a result of Dr Salim's prestigious Victoria Fellowship, which last year enabled her to visit several overseas carbon fibre composite research facilities in the United States.

Dr Salim spent nearly two months at the Polymer School at the University of Southern Mississippi, working with Professor Jeff Wiggins, whose research group has recently developed advanced protocols and customised laboratory facilities to design and synthesise the next generation of carbon fibre precursors using a variety of technologies including semi-batch RAFT polymerisation.

Professor Wiggins said it was an honour to host Dr Salim for a portion of her fellowship.

"She established strong international research collaboration and brought esteemed recognition for the research being conducted at Deakin University," Professor Wiggins said.

"Dr Salim is an outstanding ambassador for international collaboration and made a long-lasting impact on my students and research group."

The collaborative research between the Polymer School and Deakin University has led to the synthesis of nearly ten precursor polymers with high molecular weight and uniform order and distribution of co-monomers.

Dr Salim said it was a privilege to work with a group to solve various challenges in high performance polymer materials.

Also as part of the Fellowship-funded study tour, Dr Salim experienced hands-on training on the wold-class customised wet spinning line at the Centre for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, where she worked in partnership with the carbon materials group led by Dr Mathew Weisenberger.

"I had the opportunity to make my own customised precursor fibres, by changing spinning conditions. The spinning of fibres on a customised pilot scale facility was a wonderful experience," Dr Salim said.

"A critical challenge of wet spun fibres is the presence of voids developed during the coagulation process. Previously, there were no reliable procedures to quantitatively measure the size and volume of pores in the fibres. The research program helped us to combine the right skills and shared knowledge to develop a method to quantify the porosity of these fibres.

"We are all excited about the outcomes of this research. The program I selected was perfect for me, I met so many amazing people," Dr Salim said.

Dr Weisenberger said he was also pleased with the project's success.

"Dr Salim did an amazing job developing the analysis to evaluate the porosity distribution in her precursor PAN-based fibres. I'm sure this work will be very valuable moving forward and we certainly look forward to staying in touch," he said.

The Victoria Fellowship is a highly competitive award given by Veski to leading young scientists to undertake programs in an overseas organisation on cutting edge technologies that contribute to Victoria's social/economic and scientific advancement.

Geelong is now emerging as Australia's 'carbon valley' since the establishment of the hi-tech carbon fibre facility, Carbon Nexus at Deakin University and the subsequent establishment of world leading carbon fibre stakeholders such as one-piece carbon fibre wheel manufacturers, Carbon Revolution and advanced composites manufacturer Quickstep Technologies.

The Deakin-CSIRO partnership is now commissioning a world-class pilot scale wet spinning facility, to be based at the University's Waurn Ponds campus, which will complete the carbon fibre value chain from molecular level synthesis of precursors through to fabrication of composite laminates using high quality carbon fibres manufactured on-site.

Dr Salim is an Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at IFM and she is currently working with IFM's Australian Research Council Future Fellow Associate Professor Joselito Razal to develop the new polymer formulations followed by wet spinning for making high performance precursors and carbon fibres.

The new knowledge and skills achieved during her Victoria Fellowship study tour will contribute towards identifying gaps in the precursor fibre spinning area and finding reliable solutions to those critical challenges.

Resins shape future for composites

russell-varley-instoryDeakin's new composite materials professor says improved resins will define the next generation of carbon composites.

Lighter, stronger, self-healing and morphing properties are but some of the features of composite materials that will appear in the coming decades.

According to Deakin’s new Professor of Composite Materials, Russell Varley, the only thing holding back such applications is the performance and functionality of today’s resins.

Professor Varley has joined Deakin from CSIRO’s Clayton facility where he spent 26 years honing his polymer chemistry expertise. He has collaborated with companies such as Boeing and Petronas, and with world class polymer experts like Prof Jeff Wiggins from the University of Southern Mississippi and Prof Frank Jones from the University of Sheffield.

Read the full story here.



Bridging the divide

The difference between running experiments in the lab and performing them on an industrial scale is vast. But Deakin’s pilot scale carbon fibre plant, Carbon Nexus, is helping researchers validate their laboratory results in a real world setting. And it’s not just Deakin researchers who are benefiting.bridging-gap

Dr Michael Hummel, a senior researcher in the Department of Forest Products Technology at Aalto University, Finland has been using the Carbon Nexus facility over the past two weeks to run trials on renewable carbon fibre precursors.

Dr Hummel and his colleagues have developed a new ionic liquid-based spinning technique for the production of continuous cellulosic filaments. The fibres – originally targeted for textile and apparel applications – showed high mechanical properties, which made them also interesting for more technical applications such as natural reinforcement in composite materials. But Dr Hummel needed somewhere with the necessary expertise in carbon fibre and ionic liquids together with a facility to carbonise the fibres. After a fortuitous meeting with ionic liquids researcher Dr Nolene Byrne from the Institute for Frontier Materials, he realised that Carbon Nexus could provide just what he needed.

’’Within the carbonisation process many variables exist,” explains Dr Byrne.

”Time and temperature are the obvious ones, but we need to consider the impact of other processing parameters. There are a total of 20 interrelated processing parameters which all impact the properties of the carbon fibre.

”The pilot-scale, single tow line at Carbon Nexus allows us to do research that is directly translatable to industry.”

Over the past week the researchers have run Dr Hummel’s cellulose and cellulose/lignin filaments under a range of different processing conditions and learnt a lot during the process.

”While some things we can learn by doing furnace testing, the proof is in the pudding and seeing these novel precursors run on the line was exciting,” says Dr Byrne.

Dr Hummel believes the filaments show great promise as precursors for bio-based carbon fibres.

“Cellulose and blends of cellulose as precursors for carbon fibre have the possibility of one day replacing glass fibre and meeting the needs for high volume application which require moderate tensile strength,” he says.

First birthday marks year of success for Carbon Nexus

In just its first year of operation, Deakin University's unique Carbon Nexus research centre has attracted industrial partners from nine countries, produced 75 batches of carbon fibre for research trials, and received nine local and national research excellence awards.

Carbon Fibre pilot line

The birthday celebrations began early with the announcement in May of a $4.7 million ARC grant for the new Future Fibres Industrial Transformation Research Hub (ITRH) to develop advanced carbon fibres and nanofibres to support more sustainable and advanced manufacturing.

And with the recent announcement of a $1.76 million Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund grant for Carbon Nexus and Quickstep to establish a dedicated automotive division to be located at Deakin University, the future of Carbon Nexus – and Geelong – is looking brighter every day.

Carbon Nexus Director Derek Buckmaster explained that the year of achievements was just the beginning for Carbon Nexus.

"The Australian Research Council (ARC) funding for the ITRH is one example of how government and industry are confident in Carbon Nexus' capacity to lead the way on the path to creating the world's best carbon fibre and to driving the jobs of the future," he said.

Mr Buckmaster, who has just returned from a visit to the United States where he participated in the inaugural meeting of the Institute of Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), said the global manufacturing industry was growing increasingly excited about the future capabilities of carbon fibre and that Carbon Nexus was playing a key role in its advancement.

"There are so many reasons to be excited about the future of advanced manufacturing through the development of better, lighter, stronger and more cost-effective carbon fibre," he said.

"Carbon Nexus is well on the way to developing the most cost-effective PAN (polyacrylonitrile) based carbon fibre targeted for specific applications. This brings us one step closer to one of our main aims – reducing the cost of industrial-grade carbon fibre materials.

"Our carbon fibre production line is embedded within Deakin University, enabling innovative research outcomes and already working with industry on projects that are helping to drive the jobs of the future.

"Building a new industry takes commitment, an unwavering focus on innovation and strong partnerships between academia and industry – and that is what goes to the heart of Carbon Nexus."

Research Director Professor Bronwyn Fox agreed, noting that the first year of activities for Carbon Nexus represented the culmination of the vision that was seeded at Deakin in 2008.

"Seven years ago we imagined Carbon Nexus to be a world-leading carbon fibre research institute, attracting future industries to research and invest in Geelong, and now this vision is becoming a reality," she said.

Carbon Nexus by the numbers

  • Agreements with 11 industry partners from nine countries including the United States, South Korea, Russia, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Thailand.

  • The production of 75 different batches of carbon fibre for research trials – this equates to approximately five tonnes of material and 2,250 bobbins.

  • Processing of 18 different types of precursor materials, including PAN (polyacrylonitrile), cellulose, lignin and RAFT-polymerised precursor, from a range of research collaborators and industrial partners.

  • Nine local and national research excellence awards, including the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Gold Medal to Nisa Salim, the Smart Geelong Researcher of the Year award to Professor Bronwyn Fox.

  • An Australian Research Council (ARC) $4.7 million grant for the new Future Fibres Industrial Transformation Research Hub to develop advanced carbon fibres and nanofibres to support more sustainable and advanced manufacturing.

  • An ARC Discovery Grant of $345,500, for Carbon Nexus Research Director Professor Bronwyn Fox to investigate the use of spinifex grasses in carbon fibre production, in conjunction with the University of Queensland.

Future Fibres Hub

The Future Fibres Industrial Transformation Research Hub (ITRH) will build upon Deakin's already extensive expertise in carbon fibre development and advanced materials, which is led by the Carbon Nexus, within Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials. It draws together partners from government, industry and higher education, including the Australian Government's national science agency, the CSIRO.

Industry partners include carbon fibre parts manufacturers Carbon Revolution and Quickstep Holdings, along with HEIQ Australia, Cytomatrix, and the Ear Science Institute Australia. These partners are contributing an additional $3 million towards the Hub.

Overseas research collaborators on the project include the University of Oxford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, and the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Carbon Nexus to partner with global industry player DowAksa

Australia's carbon fibre industry growth strategy has been given a boost, thanks to a new partnership between Deakin University and one of the world's leading science and technology companies, DowAksa.

This partnership includes new commitments at the University's globally unique carbon fibre research centre, Carbon Nexus, to advance worldwide market adoption of carbon fibre composites.

The partnership will also help to promote Australian expertise in materials and manufacturing technologies to industrial composite parts makers and end users, such as automotive manufacturers in North America, Europe and other key export markets.

DowAksa is a joint venture between Aksa, the world's leading provider of acrylic fibre, and The Dow Chemical Company. The new agreement will provide for collaborative research and development projects with Carbon Nexus, as well as professional development and exchange opportunities that aim to advance materials and manufacturing process technologies.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander announced the partnership at the third biennial Carbon Fibre Future Directions Conference, hosted by Carbon Nexus.

"Carbon Nexus, which we opened just on nine months ago, was strategically positioned by Deakin University as the world's leading carbon fibre research centre, directly tied to research and ready to work with industry on projects that will help drive the jobs of the future," Professor den Hollander said.

"What we are announcing here today is a key step in the evolution of that strategy and demonstrates the critical role universities play in supporting local economies to reinvigorate and develop new economic bases."

Professor den Hollander said the partnership between Deakin and DowAksa would initially include collaborative carbon fibre research projects focused on catalysing local demand for DowAksa carbon fibre, with eventual opportunities for adoption by industries globally.

"The Carbon Nexus pilot line will be optimised for the output of DowAksa carbon fibre samples to support the research projects," she said.

"DowAksa and Deakin University are also expecting PhD student engagements and staff exchange and training programs as a result of the partnership agreement.

"Carbon fibre is one of the great new value-adding opportunities for Geelong manufacturing, and building a new industry takes commitment, an unwavering focus on innovation and strong partnerships between academia and industry – and that is what goes to the heart of Carbon Nexus.”

Carbon Nexus Director Derek Buckmaster said the DowAksa partnership was a key part of the growth plan for the research facility.

"We are already working in partnership with the world's first commercial maker of single-piece carbon fibre auto wheels, Carbon Revolution, which is based at our Waurn Ponds campus alongside Carbon Nexus, and recently expanded its operations," Mr Buckmaster said.

"We have recently welcomed Torquay-based design engineering firm 36T to work on an advanced sports engineering project in partnership with the School of Engineering.

"Australian carbon fibre parts manufacturer Quickstep is also setting up a dedicated automotive division at our Waurn Ponds campus to design and develop automotive manufacturing cells and enable the production of customer prototypes and initial production quantities."

DowAksa is a charter member of the US advanced composites consortium that was awarded a contract last month by President Barack Obama to establish a national advanced composites manufacturing institute.

Subject to final negotiations between this consortium and the US Department of Energy, the new institute being formed, called the Institute for Advanced Composites Materials Innovation (IACMI), will bring more than $250 million USD in combined federal, state, corporate and academic support to accelerate the development of an advanced composites industry in the US.

Deakin University, already a member of the Oak Ridge Carbon Fibre Composites Consortium based in Tennessee, was among one of almost 200 organisations expressing formal support for the IACMI proposal.

Once the new Institute begins operations, it could provide Deakin with an extended platform for collaborative engagement and networking with business and academic leaders in the American market.