Friday 25 February 2011 saw the formal launch in Melbourne of the Cooperative Research Centre for Advance Composite Structures, which was re-funded from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015 in the latest Commonwealth Government CRC Round.
The launch is a significant milestone in Australia’s premier centre for composites research. One of a few remaining CRCs to have been consistently funded since 1991, CRC-ACS is also widely regarded as one of Australia’s most successful CRCs, with unique achievements in supporting Australia’s aerospace and defence industry, and a strong record in engaging Australia’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in research and implementation of composites technologies across a range of market sectors.
The extension of CRC-ACS to June 2015 will connect Australia’s composites-related SMEs with major international industry, through co-development of technology, formation of complementary skills, and the development of interdependence between participating organisations. As well as maturing technology in the aerospace and defence industries, this program will also bring composites technology and skills to the oil and gas industry, using a value chain development approach to engage a range of relevant businesses during the development program.
This extension of the highly successful CRC-ACS is supported by AUD 14 million from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Program, and over AUD 50 million in cash and in-kind support from 28 participating organisations. A major feature of the extension is the high level of international participation: nine of the 28 participants are located outside Australia.
CRC has a five-member Board of Directors, which includes two independent directors. The directors are:
- Dr Bill Schofield AM (Chairman)
- Mr Paul Barratt AO (Deputy Chairman)
- Professor Emeritus Grant Steven
- Mr Fabrice Rochereau, CEO of EADS Australia Pacific Pty Ltd
- Dr Colin Wong Hee Huing, Vice President of Technology and Engineering at PETRONAS
The Chief Executive Officer is Professor Murray Scott.
Technology Development Programs
Three programs have been devised to cover major aspects of composites development and performance in the field. Over the five-year program, Australian industry will emerge well connected with major international industry, and able to capitalise on major future opportunities:
- Next-generation single-aisle passenger aircraft
- Sustainable materials solutions to replace fibreglass and wood
- Technology for new deepwater infrastructure
- Retrofit crash safety systems for helicopters
- Repair and health monitoring technologies across aerospace
These technologies will enable immense cost savings across these industries.
Program 1: Materials and Manufacturing
Plant Fibre Biocomposites will focus on performance of biocomposites, culminating in the production of design and manufacturing guidelines for the composites industry. Simultaneously, development of thermoplastic biocomposites based on plant fibre will be undertaken on wood replacement products and injection moulding or rotomoulding products for added performance and environmental friendliness.
Rapid Assembly Methods will focus on maturing joining technology which allows carbon-epoxy components to be welded together, through the incorporation of a discrete thermoplastic surface layer. Key outputs from the research will enable demonstration of manufactured sub-elements and structures, leading to qualification for aircraft use.
Deep Water Composites will have two product outputs. The first focus is composite repair sleeves to reinstate the strength of existing underwater steel pipeline subject to local wall thinning. Development will be focused on reduced installation times and low manufacturing cost.
The second focus is tubulars applicable to ultra-deep water operation, which show exceptional durability in high CO2, H2S and erosion environments.
Program 2: Simulation and Systems Development
Systems for Crashworthiness will employ a systems approach to improving occupant safety in helicopters, coupling the energy-absorbing capacity of composite materials with automotive-style restraint systems.
Design tools will be developed using state-of-the-art simulation technology, and retrofit aircraft crashworthiness systems demonstrated to industry and defence.
Composite Fire Performance will extend the capability to predict survival of composite structures in fire, and address performance of composite repairs for the oil and gas industry. Spill-over of this enabling technology is expected into other sectors including aerospace, ground transportation, civil infrastructure, mining and petrochemical industry.
Program 3: Operations and Sustainment
Robust Composite Repairs will continue development of repair technology for primary aircraft composite structures. The development will focus on hard patch repairs with adhesive scarf joints, and mature automated tools for the rapid assessment of damage, and the design of composite repairs.
Structure Repair and Rehabilitation will focus on repair and rehabilitation of steel structures, both above ground and below water, through the use of composite materials. Key aims are the development of analysis tools for the design of repairs, development of in-situ assessment and repair installation techniques, and demonstration of repair design and application in the working environment.
Systems Development for Structural Health Monitoring aims to enable real-time health monitoring of critical structures and implementation of Condition Based Maintenance approaches. This will be achieved through the development of diagnostic and prognostic methods reliably to relate sensor data to damage state. Key outputs will include software development and laboratory-based trials, and industry-by-industry field trials to validate use of the system.
- Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd
- Australian Industry and Defence Network Inc.
- Australian Institute for Commercialisation
- Bishop GmbH
- Brenco Aerospace Pty Ltd
- Composites Australia Inc.
- Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba Inc.
- Defence Science and Technology Organisation
- Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
- EADS Australia Pacific Pty Ltd
- Monash University
- MSC.Software Australia Pty Ltd
- Pacific Engineering Systems International Pty Ltd
- PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd
- Piber Plastics Pty Ltd
- Plasmate JSC
- Regina Glass Fibre Pty Ltd
- RMIT University
- Specialty Coatings (Aust) Pty Ltd
- Structural Monitoring Systems Ltd
- Unique Solution Partners Pty Ltd
- University of Auckland
- University of Bordeaux
- University of New South Wales
- University of Newcastle upon Tyne
- University of Queensland
- University of Southern Queensland
- University of Sydney
For further information visit the CRC-ACS website at www.crc-acs.com.au.