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First stage of fibre research and innovation centre opened

The first stage in the development of a $103 million fibre research and innovation centre at Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus has just been opened.

The Australian Future Fibre Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) is a collaboration between Deakin, CSIRO and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM).

The Centre brings together Australia’s top fibre and manufacturing scientists to conduct research on all aspects of fibre manufacturing, including carbon fibre development, natural fibres, smart fibrous materials and fibres enhanced with nanomaterials.

The newly completed $26million first stage of the AFFRIC project provides laboratory, office and conference space to accommodate the colocation of CSIRO fibre and manufacturing scientists who have relocated to Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus.

The facility supports shared chemistry and physics laboratories, including microscopy suites that house over $20million of high end instruments for material characterisation.

The co-location of CSIRO with Deakin University will increase the research capacity of both organisations as they work towards helping to revitalise the Australian textile and fibre industries.

This will be achieved through the development of innovative materials, including smart fibres that repel water and UV rays and functional fibres for use in sportswear and protective garments.

Future stages in the AFFRIC building development will include completion of the Fibre Processing Building for use by CSIRO and the Australian Carbon Fibre Research Facility (known as Carbon Nexus).

Carbon Nexus will include a pilot scale research plant capable of producing industrial scale quantities of aerospace carbon fibre and enable research into the chemical, mechanical and nanoscale characteristics of the carbon fibre product.

Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said the opening of the first operational building of AFFRIC was an exciting day for Deakin.

“This important project reflects our growing research reputation and the development of an impressive international research footprint,” she said.

“It is also a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration with industry and government to deliver world-class innovation to prepare the local region for the jobs of the future.

“These characteristics are exemplified by AFFRIC through the increased research capacity following the co-location of CSIRO that will benefit the textile and fibre industries and the potential for a new advanced manufacturing industry in Geelong.”

The Australian Future Fibre Research and Innovation Centre was established with funding from the Commonwealth Education Investment Fund and the Victorian Government’s Science Agenda Strategic Project Fund to conduct research focussing on all aspects of fibre manufacturing.

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