New Zealand is once again pushing the boundaries of knowledge development and innovation as a group of organisations has won funding for a four year research programme into advanced composite structures.
The research programme aims to expand the knowledge base and expertise related to innovative composite structures, and in particular their manufacture and performance. This will be achieved by developing analysis, design, manufacturing and characterisation methods for advanced composite materials and structures. The research objectives are focused on three key technical areas: i) Advanced failure prediction for stress concentrations ii) Novel materials and processes iii) Performance of complex sandwich structures.
The research will be managed and implemented by a steering committee with strong industry leadership. Members of the steering committee are: The Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at The University of Auckland, Industrial Research Limited, and industry partners High Modulus, ANZES Design Engineering and the Defence Technology Agency. Each industry partner is contributing to the programme, but the primary funder is the NZ Government’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s Research for Industry scheme, which is providing nearly NZD $3 million over the next four years.
The research will focus on three market sectors, which relate to the specialities of the industry partners: marine, aircraft interiors and defence. High Modulus, ANZES Design Engineering and the Defence Technology Agency are the leading New Zealand organisations in their respective sectors, and have well-established international reputations and market presence. They each have a strong track record in the commercialisation of research outcomes, and it is envisaged the outcomes of this programme will enable them to enhance their export potential and international competitiveness. The two participating research organisations have proven experience in fundamental research and the transfer of technology to industry, and they will be looking to share their knowledge with New Zealand companies across a range of industries.
An important additional outcome of the research will be the creation of a composites research cluster, which will bring together the complementary capabilities of New Zealand’s leading composites research groups, namely the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University of Auckland, and Industrial Research Limited. Combining their capabilities with those of the industry partners, the composites cluster will be in an excellent position to assist with the export growth of New Zealand’s manufacturing industry, and further strengthen its reputation and position in the international arena.
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