Carbon Nexus closes the loop

New cutting edge equipment makes Carbon Nexus the world’s most advanced carbon fibre and composite research facility.

Carbon Nexus, Deakin University’s purpose-built carbon fibre research facility, has increased its research and production capabilities with the installation of the only wet spinning line in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to Russell Varley, Professor of Composite Materials at Deakin, the newly commissioned wet spinning line completes the facility’s value chain, allowing it to offer R&D services from precursor development to white fibre spinning, carbon fibre production and composite manufacturing.

Jointly owned and operated by Carbon Nexus and CSIRO as part of the ongoing Deakin-CSIRO partnership in future fibres research, the wet spinning line expands Carbon Nexus’ existing capabilities of a research line for small quantities of carbon fibre and innovative research activities, and a pilot scale line which produces sample quantities of carbon fibre for industrial scale evaluation.

Carbon Nexus is now also home to two carbon fibre 3D printers able to print continuous carbon fibre reinforced composites. The printers are already attracting interest from industry for their potential to print small injection moulding tools with the strength of die cast aluminium which could then be used for larger volume production.

“With the installation of the new wet spinning line and the 3D printer, our capability to conduct research across all the stages of carbon fibre production is enhanced beyond our current bench-top capabilities. We are also working with Deakin’s School of Engineering on composite design for composite 3D printing or composite fabrication,” Prof Varley said.

The acquisition of the wet spinning line fits neatly within the Australian Government’s push for research to focus more on industrial applications, according to Carbon Nexus Director Derek Buckmaster.

“This is a very applied piece of equipment. It’s designed on industrial principles,” he said.

“Rather than being a piece of laboratory, it’s actually scaled down from industrial equipment.”

The wet spinning line is already in use on a joint research project between CSIRO and Deakin exploring the production of carbon fibres from precursors made using the new RAFT polymerisation process.

About Carbon Nexus

Located in the “carbon cluster” at Deakin’s Geelong Innovation Precinct, Carbon Nexus is the world’s only open-access, purpose-built research facility designed to manufacture carbon fibres, textile pre-forms and composites for developing new technologies, processes and products.

The facility provides materials characterisation, applied analysis and research on innovative manufacturing concepts. It works to meet industry requirements from basic initial research to complex applied research, using a range of technology feasibility testing, development and demonstration to deliver production-ready technology and operations.

Carbon Nexus gives industry access to a team of globally-recognised high technology materials experts who deliver the solutions that businesses and researchers need to achieve genuine competitive advantage.