HDR Scholarship - Recycling carbon fibres

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Recycling carbon fibres'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP), Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

The increasing demand of carbon fibres in modern infrastructure and transport has led to a drastic increase in the production of this valuable commodity. As a result of its widespread use there has been a correspondingly large increase in the amount of CF waste from various activities. These include off-cuts, scrap material, and recovered fibres from defective components or end of life and damaged composite materials. These raw materials are typically disposed of in landfill. This action represents a significant waste of a valuable resource, as the carbon fibres represent a large energy investment during manufacture and conversion to a composite material.

Furthermore, it is likely that the global demand for carbon fibres will outpace the global carbon fibre manufacturing capability by 2030, even considering expected volume increases from large commercial suppliers. Therefore, the raw materials being lost to landfill may be a valuable feedstock to meet some of the demand shortfall. Due to the extensive and laborious approaches for material certification in various aerospace sectors, it will be unlikely for reclaimed carbon fibres to be used in these applications. Therefore, the use of reclaimed CF for other high value applications is needed.

The Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) is one of the top research institutes in the world for fibre material sciences with globally recognised fibre production and characterisation facilities. The ARC Research Hub for Future Fibres leverages the vast knowledge of our internationally acclaimed academics and researchers to solve real world Industry Partner problems. Greater Geelong is in the top 10% of the fastest growing local government areas (LGA) in Australia and adjacent to the Surf Coast LGA, which has the second fastest growth nationally. Considered the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and home to the Geelong Cats AFL team, the region also boasts magnificent scenery, award winning wineries and famous surf breaks such as Bell Beach. Getting to Melbourne, the largest city in Australia, is easy with convenient public transport options, a modern freeway system and direct domestic/international flights.

Deakin University is committed to the impact themes of:

  • Advancing society, culture and the economy
  • Building safe and secure communities
  • Creating smarter technologies
  • Enabling a sustainable world
  • Improving health and wellbeing

Over 90 nationalities are represented in the Deakin community with the IFM having one of the largest international components at our university. Inclusiveness, understanding and openness to new ideas are core values of all our people.

Project aim

This project will examine the use of reclaimed carbon fibres for non-traditional applications of CF such as electrodes for energy storage and harvesting, CO2 sequestration, and environmental remediation. Further studies including strategies to enhance the physical performance via innovative surface treatments will also be examined.

This PhD programme aims to:

  • understand the full range of available carbon fibres as a reusable commodity
  • evaluate the different physical and chemical properties of each type of available fibre
  • test fibres for suitability in various processes
  • identify additional end-user applications for reclaimed or reused fibres

The project will also seek to enhance the PhD candidate’s skills and knowledge in:

  • a broad range of fibre characterisation and examination techniques available through equipment and expertise
  • problem solving skills to identify opportunities for standardised testing protocols in conjunction with Hub staff and Supervisors
  • collaboration strategies for Deakin University, Hub/IFM staff and industry Partner Organisations
  • team skills and able to work in a multi-cultural research group
  • developing a body of work that furthers the candidate’s own research field and that of the Supervisor/Hub/IFM

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Wednesday 30 August 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • demonstrated experience of safe working practises in a chemical laboratory
  • good communication, presentation and writing skills
  • familiarity with nanomaterial/textile characterisation techniques and knowledge of textile chemistry would be advantageous

How to apply

Please complete the Expression of Interest Form as below. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be invited to submit a full application. Please do not contact us unless instructed to do so.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Luke Henderson

Prof Luke Henderson
Email Prof Luke Henderson
+61 3 5227 2767