Materials and process modelling

Materials and process modelling at the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) involves predicting the way molecules and materials react using highly advanced computer modelling. In this way, we can deliver complex research outcomes faster and more economically.

Predicting the world around us

IFM Researchers use modelling in a number of different areas:

Molecular modelling and simulation

Our research is all about prediction. We develop and apply advanced computer modelling at the molecular level, based on fundamental principles of chemistry, physics and mathematics, to predict properties and behaviours of anything that is composed of atoms and molecules.

Numerical modelling

Numerical modelling of materials helps in design of materials for lightweight structures, important for the automotive and aerospace sectors. Very fast virtual prototyping can save costs by reducing design and physical testing times.

Advanced computer simulation technology to understand the properties of fluids and model flow and heat transfer problems in engineering applications.

There is so much exciting and groundbreaking research going on in this area. We now have a critical mass of highly skilled scientists in the region, it has been a real magnet.



Our research

Molecular and fluid dynamics

Our research focuses on applying advanced computer simulation technology to design and develop new materials, fundamentally understand the properties of simple and complex fluids, and model flow and heat transfer problems in engineering applications.

Research includes the dynamics behaviour and transport properties of atoms, molecules and ions in organic and inorganic materials to the flow of continuum fluid and discrete particles.

Molecular modelling and simulation

Our key research areas are:

  • structure property relationships of interfaces between biological matter for applications in areas ranging from medical diagnostics to medical implant technologies and fundamental research on biomineralisation
  • prediction of formulation/property and structure relationships associated with high-performance carbon fibre composite materials
  • prediction of structures, properties and behaviours of protein systems of interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Numerical modelling and design of materials for lightweight structures

The group has projects that range from the fundamental (constitutive material modelling) through applied research (understanding tool wear) to more development work (lightweight body design).

Recent research

Cold washing to combat global warming

Professor Tiffany Walsh and her team have developed an application to use nanoparticles in laundry powder to achieve a hot wash outcome at a much lower water temperature.

Driven by research fellow Dr. Zak Hughes, they used advanced computer modelling to predict the behaviour of carbon nanoparticles added to laundry powder and their impact on the dissolution of fat contained in dirty clothing.

When you think about how much energy gets used on the planet everyday by people doing a hot wash, the energy saving benefit for this would have a huge global impact.



Featured researcher

Professor Tiffany Walsh was lured back to Australia after an impressive research career in the United Kingdom. Claiming a first for herself, and Deakin, she is the first VESKI (Victorian Endowment for Science Knowledge and Innovation) Innovation Fellow to work outside the Melbourne CBD. Based at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, she uses computer simulations to show how nature manufactures strong and durable materials, such as shells, teeth and bones using non-toxic ingredients.

Contact us

Molecular modelling and simulation
Professor Tiffany Walsh
Email Professor Walsh

Numerical modelling and design of materials for lightweight structures
Associate Professor Bernard Rolfe
Email Associate Professor Rolfe

Molecular and fluid dynamics
Dr Weimin Gao
Email Dr Gao