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Australia Forging Ahead with Advanced Materials

30 April 2004

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Advanced Composite Structures has received further Government backing.

The new centre, built at a cost of 65 million Australian Dollars, is unique in that it is one of only six CRCs - and the only one in manufacturing - to be supported by the Commonwealth Government to continue into a third year of a seven-year term.

The Australian Government will provide $15 million to support the CRC for Advanced Composite Structures to continue its work through to 2010.

“The CRC for Advanced Composite Structures will work closely with industry to further develop Australia’s aerospace, maritime and general composites industries,” Australian Government Science Minister Peter McGauran said in launching the CRC in Victoria.

The activities of the Centre cover research, education, commercialisation and technology transfer in the areas of aerospace, maritime and general composite structures. The major industry participant is Hawker de Havilland, Australia’s leading aerospace design and manufacturing organisation, which is involved with many of the world’s newest major aircraft projects, such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 7E7 and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“The CRC has attracted international interest and has already carried out work for the United States Office of Naval Research. Future collaboration includes the Boeing 7E7 project, the Joint Strike Fighter Programme and the Airbus A400M. It will also bring together many of Australia’s research, design and manufacturing organisations in advanced composites, and will build upon the work of the CRC for Aerospace Structures established in 1991,” Mr McGauran said.

Together with its research providers in Melbourne – Monash and RMIT Universities, and CSIRO Molecular Science, and in Sydney – the Universities of New South Wales and Sydney, the Centre represents the cream of the Australian R&D community in advanced composites. This impressive capability is further strengthened through the Centre’s Supporting Members, GKN Aerospace Engineering Services, MSC Software Australia and Pacific Engineering Services International, each of which is also making important contributions. Recognition of the excellence of this team is evidenced by its “blue-chip” clients, such as Europe’s Airbus and the US’s Office of Naval Research.

Over the next few years, the Composites CRC will be concentrating on developing new intellectual property in the areas of affordable design, manufacture, assembly and support of aerospace, maritime and ground transportation vehicles and infrastructure.

Through an integrated research, innovation and commercialisation process, new composites technologies will be developed and implemented that will hope to achieve significant benefits for Australian industry. These new benefits will build upon and complement a portfolio of 62 technologies that were developed in the first two terms of the Centre and now form a sound basis for much of the planned developments. Also part of the new program are the new “break-through” technologies of “nano” and “smart” composites that are expected to lead to quantum leaps in operational performance. Research in these areas will be in collaboration with international researchers through mechanisms like the European Commission’s “Sixth Framework Programme”.





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