The field of materials science and engineering offers unlimited possibilities for innovation and development. Australia is a country rich in minerals and materials science is a priority area for research and development. Advanced materials and improvements in sustainability can give manufacturing companies, in virtually any industry, the edge over their competitors.
Beyond our basic scientific curiosity and the thrill of discovery, we consciously design materials and sustainable processes that impart a substantial benefit to society through the way they positively impact the environment, improve human health, increase our standard of living, increase productivity of our vital resources, enhance national security, or by simply promoting economic prosperity. Taking this fact into account, we have restructured our research to create four new interconnected society centred research themes (right).
Underpinning this new thematic structure is our enabling platform, which is the necessary suite of skills and expertise that materials scientists and engineers need to possess to be able to create the materials of use to society. It consists of a deep understanding of fundamental phenomena, multiscale computational methods, correlative structural analysis techniques, and the behaviour and properties of materials. The cornerstone of the platform is advanced manufacturing, which is the critical path for creating all those wonderful materials of significant benefit to a contemporary society.
Our four Theme Leaders are responsible for coordinating the various research groups within their theme and encouraging communication and collaboration between groups through to cross disciplinary collaboration between Themes and other Schools, and Research Centres, Hubs and Institutes both within UNSW and externally.
The close relationship between our four interconnected research themes and our enabling platform is illustrated in the diagram below.
Primarily structural materials used expressly for creating the means of transportation, to large-scale structures and infrastructure that dominate our daily lives. These include land, sea and aerospace vehicles to buildings, superstructures, machines and any other fixed or moving infrastructure.
Structural materials exhibiting specific functionality to largely functional materials that are designed to interact with biological systems for therapeutic and diagnostic medical purposes. These materials are used in dental devices, orthopedic implants, artificial organs, implantable devices, artificial skin and drug delivery.
Materials that play a critical role in the production, storage and conversion of energy, through to eco-materials, created by sustainable processes. The materials have an overall positive impact on the environment. These are integral materials in next-generation fuel cells, solar devices, gas-power generators and recycled products.
Primarily functional materials with structural requirements used in electrical, electronics and microelectronic applications. These include components and devices that comprise integrated circuits, circuit boards and visual displays, to cables, wires and optical fibres for transferring power and information.