Innovative Carbon Fibre Manufacturing Comes to Australia

By: Andy Enright

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Carbon Fibre manufacturing in Oz courtesy of CSIRO and Deakin Universiry

AUSTRALIA HAS, until now, lacked the capacity to produce carbon fibre from scratch and at scale. That has finally changed thanks to a collaboration between CSIRO and Deakin University. A wet spinning line has been developed at Waurn Ponds, near Geelong, which uses a patented CSIRO technology to develop a new generation of carbon fibre which has the potential to be stronger and of higher quality than existing methods.

Director of CSIRO Future Industries, Dr Anita Hill (pictured in gallery slideshow above), expanded upon the milestone. "This facility means Australia can carry out research across the whole carbon fibre value chain: from molecules, to polymers, to fibre, to fi nished composite parts. Together with Deakin, we’ve created something that could disrupt the entire carbon fi bre manufacturing industry," she said.

The facility is located some 200m away from the HQ of Carbon Revolution, which builds lightweight CF wheels for the Shelby GT350R and Ford GT amongst others. Carbon Rev are a long-time collaborator with both CSIRO and Deakin, but, for the time being at least, are not involved in this venture.

The wet spinning line comprises a sticky mix of precursor chemicals which is then teased into fi ve hundred individual strands of fibre, each thinner than a human hair. They’re then wound onto a spool to create a tape and taken next door to the massive carbonisation ovens to create the fi nished carbon fibre.

Custom-built by an Italian company, the CSIRO/Deakin technology was described as "the Ferrari of wet spinning lines". Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy MP officially launched the facility. "Geelong already has a global reputation for industrial innovation. Initiatives such as this enhance that standing, can accelerate research, lead innovation and provide new job opportunities," Mr Laundy said.

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