Multidisciplinary materials

Our collaboration across scientific and engineering disciplines integrates materials characterisation, design and manufacturing expertise ­which results in advanced new materials with purpose-built properties.

Our capabilities include:

  • Integrated computational materials engineering
  • Blast-protection materials
  • Advanced diamond science
  • Drag-reduction surfaces
  • Ceramics, polymers and metals
  • Bio-functional, nano-medicine and medical implant materials
  • Auxetic, meta and nano-photonic materials
  • Organic electronic materials.

Our research has led to:

  • Ceramic powder-based rotors
  • Ceramic armour for personal protective systems
  • Nlast-protection modelling for defence environments
  • 3D printing of polymers, metal alloys and biomaterials.
Hear from Professor Tuan Ngo on his research on novel materials for high strength armour and vehicles subjected to extreme blasts and ballistics.

Case study: Lightweight body armour

Understanding high-temperature ceramics has been a crucial part of developing new boron-carbide body armour now being used to protect Australian soldiers during active deployment.

The highest impact application

For the new armour, our researchers produced a high-strength and lightweight ceramic in curved shapes that is tough enough to stop an armour-piercing bullet, but up to 20 per cent lighter than previously used armour.

For a single breastplate, this could reduce the weight a soldier carries by 600 grams, providing better protection while improving their mobility and endurance.

Defence at a molecular level

The armour demonstrates how molecular-level manipulation of chemistry can be used to tailor ceramics for specific high-performance end-use requirements.

The armour can be produced with near-net shaping, offering the potential to tailor armour for specific body shapes, including for frontline female combatants. Professor George Franks, the leader of the project, says other armour pieces are being developed, including front helmet plates and protection for the upper arms.

This research was part of a Defence Materials Technology Centre project. Other partners included CSIRO, the Swinburne University of Technology, the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing and Australian Defence Apparel, which manufactures the armour.