CSIRO spins carbon web

Australia government-owned research body, CSIRO, says Australia may get an entirely new industry as a result of Australian developed carbon fibre technology.

It has announced “Australia’s first entirely home grown carbon fibre,” which it says will enable Australian industry to mass-produce products that use the advanced material, “used in everything from bicycles and tennis rackets to satellites and fighter planes.”

Announcing the breakthrough, CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall said carbon fibre is currently manufactured by only a handful of companies around the world, each of whom closely guard the details of their patented processes.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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.

“It’s a major leap forward in turning the region into an international carbon fibre hub. Australia has joined the elite club of carbon fibre manufacturers.”

Carbon fibre combines high rigidity, tensile strength and chemical resistance with low weight, and is used increasingly in products that demand such characteristics. The Australian carbon fibre was produced using polyacrylonitrile fibre, spun on the joint CSIRO-Deakin University wet spinning line, then carbonised at Deakin’s ‘Carbon Nexus’ facility in Geelong.

CSIRO has a long history of scientific breakthroughs that have become successful products. In recent years its victory in patent battles with a number of US telecommunications vendors have seen it recognised as one of the core inventors of WiFi technology.

Other notable CSIRO inventions include plastic banknotes (now used around the world) Aerogard pest repellent, and extended wear contact lenses.

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