Developing better materials for everyday life

The increased demand for specialised products and technologies is driving manufacturing innovation and the development of new advanced materials. Many objects in our everyday life have been transformed—and in most cases—improved by the application of advanced materials like metals, ceramics, gels, polymers and composites. The benefits come not only from greater quantities of existing materials at reduced costs but also from the development of materials with totally new properties that enhance safety and sustainability. These new materials outperform conventional ones as they have properties that improve toughness and durability.   

To ensure that the engineering structures made of these materials can perform as required, they need to be tested under dynamic loading conditions to see how they behave. Whether it’s a mobile phone dropping onto a hard surface, a car crashing into a brick wall, a bullet striking an armour plate, or even a meteorite crashing to Earth, impact dynamics investigates collisions and how materials and structures perform and function when subjected to a range of extreme loading conditions.


Using a synergy of our expertise regarding advanced materials and of their behaviour under dynamic impact loading conditions we focus on developing resilient materials and structures for engineering applications. Using experimental investigation, we test materials over a wide spectrum of strain rates ranging from 10-3 to 107 s-1.  

Our areas of expertise cover the study of advanced composite materials across: 

  • aerospace structures
  • automotive
  • civil infrastructure 
  • defence 
  • oil and gas industries 
  • marine industries. 

Our research works to: 

  • maximise survivability by developing new protective structures for Defence to improve the performance of lightweight armour systems in defending against attacks from shape charged weapon systems and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • minimise the weight burden on the soldier by developing lightweight durable structures. 
  • reduce injury by developing a better understanding of the behaviour of the human body to dynamic loading and ballistic impacts.

Competitive advantage

  • Advanced material manufacturing and testing capabilities. 
  • The fastest gun in the Southern Hemisphere. A two-stage gun able to fire projectile packages to 4.5 km/s. 
  • Split-Hopkinson-Pressure-Bar for compression and tensile analysis. 
  • Instrumented Drop Tower. 
  • High-speed diagnostic capabilities. 
  • Ability to combine high strain-rate testing with computational expertise. 
  • Recognition of our expertise in advanced engineering simulations including blast and impact. 
  • Composite manufacturing.
  • FEM (composites, structures, fluid-structure interface).
  • Computational mechanics (nonlinear numerical, thermal and thermal-mechanical, progressive damage analyses).
  • Repair, design and application.
  • Renovation and rehabilitation of engineering structures.
  • Joint design and analysis.
  • High temperature structural applications.
  • Composite steel-concrete structures.
  • Mechanical characterisation and experimental diagnostics of polymer and metal matrix composites.
  • Fracture and fatigue testing.
  • Durability of composite materials (stress corrosion of glass fibres).
  • Impact testing.
  • Non-destructive inspection of composites (NDI).
  • Nano-particulate metal matrix composites.

Successful applications

  • Supporting Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) in their quest to understand the mechanical behaviour of a range of Defence materials at various strain rates. 
  • Development of new resilient structures using advanced protective systems and new materials (High strength steel, Polymers, Ceramics, Auxetics, Fabrics). 
  • Probing the ballistic performance of a new fast-jet bunker design. 
  • Development of constitutive models for armour materials. 
  • Understanding the role of a bullet’s jacket during the penetration of hard targets. 
  • Design and analysis of composite anisogrid lattice structures for aerospace applications. 
  • Additive manufacturing of layered functionally graded metal matrix composites (jointly with CSIRO). 
  • Design and analysis of reinforced thermoplastic pipes for offshore oil and gas applications. 
  • Development of validated numerical platforms and FEA codes, providing a wide range of consultation.

Our researchers

Mechanical Engineering Program Coordinator Juan Pablo Escobedo-Diaz
Mechanical Engineering Program Coordinator
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Laboratories Coordinator Haroldo Hattori
Laboratories Coordinator
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Professor  Paul Hazell
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Post graduate Research Coordinator Amar Khennane
Post graduate Research Coordinator
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Facilities Coordinator Harald Kleine
Facilities Coordinator
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Professor of Civil Engineering Chi King Lee
Professor of Civil Engineering
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Aeronautical Engineering Program Coordinator Jong-Leng Liow
Aeronautical Engineering Program Coordinator
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Senior Lecturer - Civil Engineering Damith Mohotti
Senior Lecturer - Civil Engineering
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Professor  Evgeny Morozov
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Professor Andrew Neely
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Senior Lecturer Murat Tahtali
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Lecturer Hongxu Wang
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Aeronautical Engineering Program Coordinator Graham Wild
Aeronautical Engineering Program Coordinator
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