@AuManufacturing launches its new editorial series today. It will look at work done to make better products with fibres and composites, ranging from the laboratory to the factory floor, as well as the increased focus on end-of-life products. Editor Brent Balinski looks at some of the recent and potential future success in the genre.
“Do it right, do it with fibre.”
The quote may as well apply to composites. Doing it right (making the best product possible) has often meant innovators looking to fibre-reinforced materials.
From sporting goods to dental implants to spacecraft to armour, getting superior performance — whether that’s lighter weight, greater stiffness, strength or toughness, or some combination of these — has frequently meant composites.
Recent Australian high-tech industrial achievements involving them are easy for us to think of. Carbon Revolution’s world-first one-piece carbon fibre wheel. The Boeing-led Loyal Wingman. Boeing Aerostructures Australia’s Fishermans Bend site is regarded as a company leader in resin infusion moulding technology, developed in Victoria, and not requiring a traditional autoclave for curing.
Australia can claim a host of high-potential companies that could shift their industries through technologies under development. Among these are XTek, with its ultra-high-pressure fluid curing method, currently being applied commercially for armour plating and helmets. Or Quickstep, with its Qure process. Or TST, which has spun out defence research on super-fast “D4” curing. Each of these could drive speed and quality gains and better products across different industries.
Then there is Brisbane’s Hypersonix, commercialising an all-composite reusable scramjet craft for launching satellites into orbit.
The Fibres and composites transforming industry series will consider the role of Australian composites expertise in industries including space, defence, medical technology and beyond. We will also hear from experts working in recycling, an incredibly hot topic in an industry that — like apparently all others — is having to reckon with sustainability challenges. These are particularly daunting when it comes to fibre-reinforced materials, as we’ll find out.
We’ll also learn about pultrusion, and Australian research on how graphene can be used against electromagnetic interference in fibre-reinforced polymers.
Fibres and composites transforming industry launches today with the story of Australian start-up Micro-X, which has tamed carbon fibre nanotubes to make the world’s only cold cathode X-Ray emitter.
Check back for at least one new story a day during the series, which will run until April 30.
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