Manufacturing Breakthrough: Australia Is Finally Making Its Own Carbon Fibre

Image: Australia's first ever carbon fibre being manufactured, CSIRO.

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

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    One can only imagine how much this Aussie made version will cost.

      Must be pretty competitive. My friend works on this and he says they have been getting a lot of interest from companies in the US.

      Sometimes it isn't the cost it is the quality, Chinese buy so many more Aussie products than you think just because it is made here in Australia even though they have cheaper Chinese versions, consumers and corporations do shell out for Aussie made for the quality we provide, also you need to realise that Chinese also do not have faith in their own products as too many corners are cut to keep costs down as well as to make enough profit for the corrupt to take their share. This is where the quality becomes effected.

    How dare the CSIRO make more discoveries/inventions. I've a mind to cut their funding again.


    Great work, I just hope they can commercialize it before our rent-seeking economy drives it overseas. We don't seem to be very good at creating industry from invention...our industry ecosystems are not diverse enough and tend to get stifled by one or more of our three levels of government.

    I've visited Carbon Nexus, it is a very... very cool place with even cooler tech in the works. Go see it if you can. Very worth the drive.

    How can a Recipe be Secret and Patented?

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