Lightweight composites to get trimmer and smarter

Australian researchers set goal of producing a new generation of super-strong, lightweight polymer composite materials for use in aerospace and transportation.

Story Courtesy of CSIRO, Australia

A team led by Dr. Stuart Bateman at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) Materials Science and Engineering is designing and testing even lighter and stronger polymer composites that they believe will out-perform conventional materials currently used in the transportation sector. Dr. Bateman notes in the release that one of the team’s key competencies is designing and dispersing functional additives on a nanometer scale using conventional polymer composite processing equipment.

The novel composite materials are being created by dispersing low concentrations of specially chosen additives within the polymer matrix. By this means, the CSIRO team are able to produce polymers with enhanced properties, such as superior strength, stiffness, impact resistance, fire resistance, and heat reflectance.

Some of the new functional additives being developed by the research team have found to be effective at trace concentrations (below one percent). This low content is a bonus because it avoids unwanted changes in the material’s processing ability and end properties such as surface finish, while still improving mechanical properties.

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