Competing with carbon fibre – CSIRO makes breakthrough

CSIRO carbon fibre breakthrough

The CSIRO have created a technological breakthrough in producing Australia’s first manufactured carbon fibre. The carbon fibre was spun first from polyacrylonitrile fibre, then taken to Deakin University’s “Carbon Nexus” facility for carbonising.

So what’s the big deal? Carbon fibre is the high tech building material used for a wide range of products across industries; car wheels, bicycles and tennis rackets share the material with aerospace engineering and wind turbines.

“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,” says Dr. Marshall, Chief Executive of the CSIRO. Countries around the world produce carbon fibre to highly secretive recipes, due to its lucrative nature as an export.

The material is lightweight, hard wearing and chemically resistant, making it a highly desirable material in industries such as aerospace engineering or defence. This first iteration of the carbon fibre leaves room for future development.

“We want 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 Research Director Dr John Tsanaktsidis said.

Future industrial production means many jobs created and another leap forward in CSIRO’s innovative ethos, following their $200 million Innovation Fund targeted toward research commercialisation.

“From wind turbines to aerospace, even the latest Mustang wheels, this new 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.

The CSIRO’s breakthrough and Innovation Fund are both steps in the right direction to putting Australia on the world stage in both industry and scientific research.

– Eliza Brockwell

Liked this article? Read about Karen Willcox’s journey through aerospace engineering.

carbon fibre being created

(Above) The creation of Australia’s first carbon fibre.

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.

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