A successful design of engineering applications and energy-efficient systems that have a positive environmental impact often requires the optimising and development of materials that possess  suitable mechanical properties.  This is achieved by furthering our understanding of materials performance through characterization, testing, failure analysis and lifetime prediction across a range of harsh and challenging environments.  

Our research at UNSW School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering focuses on the design, processing, characterisation and testing of advanced structural materials such as: 

  • next-generation metals and alloys (e.g., Ni-based superalloys, intermetallics, and compositionally complex materials like high-entropy alloys or bulk metallic glasses) 
  • nano-structured as well as carbon, glass and natural fiber-reinforced composites (thermoset and thermoplastic) 
  • nature-inspired metal/ceramic matrix materials 

We comprehensively investigate manufacturing and processing techniques of advanced polymer composite materials. Our experts have extensive experience characterising and testing various materials classes across multiple length-scales from the nanometer to the macro-scale. This includes: 

  • both in-situ and ex-situ studies to evaluate deformation 
  • damage evolution and failure during testing and after service 
  • the design of advanced characterization techniques for mechanical performance evaluation in aggressive environments such as corrosive and oxidizing media 
  • crack propagation and fatigue life studies of laminated nano- and polymer composites, metallic materials and intermetallics in temperature ranges from cryogenic to 1500°C 

Example projects 

  • Validation studies for composite modelling in failure prediction and damage resistance, including complex ply schemes 
  • Fatigue resistance and predicting crack propagation of high-performance alloys and ceramics at ambient to elevated temperatures 
  • Toughening and improving damage tolerance in high temperature metals, intermetallics, ceramics, and ceramic composites 
  • High entropy alloy development and damage tolerance at cryogenic temperatures 
  • Defense mechanisms of armor materials in nature 
  • Evaluation of fatigue and creep fatigue of Ni-based superalloys for advanced turbines and reactor designs 
  • Development of novel crack propagation models to aid design of advanced turbines and reactors 
  • Fracture and fatigue evaluation of Mo- and W-based alloys up to 1300°C for advanced energy applications 
  • Small-scale testing of hard coatings at elevated temperatures 
  • Development and characterization of structural energy storage composite materials 
  • Sensor development for a variety of applications including stress, strain, temperature 
  • Mechanical and fatigue characterization of carbon fiber composites for the wind turbine industry 
  • Development and characterization of cryogenic composites for the aerospace industry 
  • Improvement of fatigue resistance of adhesive bonding and laminated composites using nanomaterials 

Our partners 

Our collaborations range from both national and international industry and government partners: 

  • SPEE3D 
  • Axowind  
  • PCC Structurals  
  • ESCO Corporation 
  • Glassimetal Inc. 
  • Liquidmetal Technologies 
  • Hereaus Group, Intel Corporation, Lockheed Martin 
  • Plansee SE Corporation 
  • CSIRO 
  • ANSTO 
  • DST Group 
  • US Department of Energy 

Our people