Home Enterprise Solutions CSIRO, Deakin develop first home-grown carbon fibre

CSIRO, Deakin develop first home-grown carbon fibre

Scientists at the CSIRO have developed Australia's first home-grown carbon fibre, a material that is used in things as varied as bicycles, tennis rackets, satellites and fighter planes.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday that the organisation would now be able to manufacture carbon fibre from scratch.

csiro fibre

CSIRO and Carbon Nexus researchers inspect Australia’s first carbon fibre.

“Cracking the carbon code will allow industry to manufacture this incredibly strong and lightweight material for the first time from scratch, using Australia’s own top secret recipe,” he said.

“Together with Deakin University, we’ve created the seed to grow our manufacturing industry in Australia – generating jobs of the future built on home-grown innovation.”

Carbon fibre is made by a handful of manufacturers around the world, each of whom hold their own secret, patented recipes.

“From wind turbines to aerospace, even the latest Mustang wheels, a carbon fibre industry signals the kind of reinvention needed across Australian industry, shifting our focus from raw exports to high value products to retain our global competitive advantage,” Dr Marshall said.

“This is another chapter in the innovation history of Geelong, where Australia’s first carbon fibre was created from scratch using CSIRO produced white fibre. It’s a major leap forward in turning the region into an international carbon fibre hub.”

“We want to unlock carbon fibre’s full potential,” CSIRO research director Dr John Tsanaktsidis said.

“On our first attempt we created car-quality carbon fibre – we now expect to improve on that result and produce aerospace standard carbon fibre.

“CSIRO’s Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap, released in November 2016, called on Australian industry to play to its strengths by focusing on high-value advanced manufacturing. Creating a future industry based on carbon fibre is an excellent example of bringing that to life.”

The first carbon fibre was produced using polyacrylonitrile fibre, spun on the joint CSIRO/ Deakin University wet spinning line and then carbonised at Deakin’s “Carbon Nexus” facility.

Photos and video: courtesy CSIRO

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.