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Materials are a crucial aspect of engineering design and key to many advances in technology. New and improved materials are continually being developed to meet the demands of a wide-range of industries. To enable the successful introduction of these new materials, both the manufacturing processes and final performance of the material in-service need to be understood and optimised. Deakin has a significant research focus using both experimental and computer modelling approaches to the application of materials at both the manufacturing and performance level. Projects are often closely linked with industry; and generally multi-disciplinary in nature, combining design, manufacturing, materials and computer simulation.
Staff in the School of Engineering work closely with the Institute for Frontier Materials in areas such as metal forming, machining, and fatigue.
Deakin has traditionally had an automotive focus in this area, working closely with OEMs in stamping and roll-forming of complex-microstructure materials. Research is focussed on issues such as formability, dimensional accuracy and wear. Deakin has specialised experimental equipment for this research, including an Erichsen sheet metal former with state-of-the-art strain measurement system, and a mechanical stamping press and roll-forming line that are both fully-instrumented. Researchers predominantly use ABAQUS, AutoForm, LS-Dyna and ANSYS for computer simulations, as well as a specialised code for multi-scale modelling (Xanthus).
Deakin is rapidly building its reputation for machining and machinability research and is heading towards being a regional and national centre of excellence. Deakin works closely with industry, end users, material suppliers, tooling companies and other universities world wide on machining and machinability research projects. Machining research concentrates on the process and identifies ways in which performance and economics of machining practices can be improved.
The durability of a material is often a crucial factor in applications in many industries including aerospace, automotive, biomedical and building infrastructure. The introduction of complex-microstructure materials presents significant challenges as it is considerably more difficult to predict their response to cyclic deformation. Projects in this area combine experimental and multi-scale modelling techniques to focus on both an understanding of how advanced materials such as metal foams and multi-phase steels accommodate the cyclic deformation, as well as how to predict failure.