Manufacturing Breakthrough: Australia Is Finally Making Its Own Carbon Fibre

Manufacturing Breakthrough: Australia Is Finally Making Its Own Carbon Fibre
Image: Australia's first ever carbon fibre being manufactured.

Australian scientists just made the country’s first entirely home-grown carbon fibre.

This means our manufacturing industry is set to get a massive boost – making material to be used in everything from bicycles and tennis rackets, to satellites and fighter planes.

CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said “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.

“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 only made by a handful of manufacturers around the world, CSIRO says – each holding 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, Dr Marshall says – this is where the material was created using CSIRO produced “white fibre”

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

With carbon fibre you have high rigidity, tensile strength and chemical resistance with low weight. Due to these properties it is used in everything from aviation and defence to space and car manufacturing.

CSIRO Research Director Dr John Tsanaktsidis said he wants to unlock carbon fibre’s full potential.

“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 released an Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap in November 2016, which 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,” Dr Tsanaktsidis says