Alloy design and processing

Alloy design and processing research at the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) is driving Australia’s manufacturing sector into the future through the application of innovative high-strength lightweight materials.
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Building a better tomorrow

IFM metals research spans the spectrum from fundamental to commercial. We perform short-term feasibility studies for industry as well as develop innovative ideas that will underpin Australia's future manufacturing sector.

Our research aims to increase profitability and competitiveness, extend product life and reduce energy consumption. To achieve these goals, the application of new, high-strength and lightweight materials has to be combined with advanced lightweight design.

Our current partners include primary metal manufacturers, automotive companies and suppliers, small manufacturing firms and spin-off companies. We also work extensively with multidisciplinary national and international research organisations.

Our technology could save industries that use aluminium alloys millions of dollars, as well as achieving major energy savings and reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions.


research fellow, ifm

Our research


Reducing the weight of vehicles for increased fuel efficiency is a high priority and has intensified the focus on lightweight metals.

The metals group, led by Professor Matthew Barnett, combines world leading research in the development of new, high-performance materials, such as ultra high-strength steels, advanced magnesium alloys for fast extrusion and metal laminates.

Our steel research focuses on developing greener processes and products for a more sustainable and socially responsible steel industry.

Metal forming

IFM's sheet metal forming research targets the automotive, aerospace and construction industries. Led by Dr Matthias Weiss and Dr Michael Pereira, the group's research focuses on developing advanced material models and innovative manufacturing technologies for the forming of current and future sheet materials.

Lightweight design

This group uses research in advanced material and process development, material characterisation and modelling to establish advanced and low-cost lightweight structure solutions for the automotive sector. The major focus is on simplicity in design and manufacturing. This is achieved through the development of techniques that aid in the application of modular body structures to increase flexibility and reduce production costs.

Recent research

Aircraft recycling takes flight

In a breakthrough at Deakin, researchers have developed the technology that should open the way to recycling the bulk of the 200,000 aircraft currently traversing the airways. This would see around six million tonnes and billions of dollars’ worth of high performance aluminium alloys retained within the airline industry.

Deakin metallurgist Dr Thomas Dorin and his co-workers have developed the ground-breaking process at IFM. They've discovered that the recycling process actually results in an enhancement of the alloys' performance.

Featured staff

IFM director, Professor Matthew Barnett received Deakin’s highest honour – the title of Alfred Deakin Professor – in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of metallurgy research. Professor Barnett is internationally recognised as a leading researcher in the field of deformation behaviour of steels and light metals. In the past 10 years he has secured research funding of more than $12 million from various sources, including more than $7 million from the Australian Research Council.

Contact us

Director, IFM
Professor Matthew Barnett
+61 3 5227 2797
Email Professor Barnett

Commercial Manager
Andrew Rau
+61 3 5227 1129
Email Andrew Rau