Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 1 Contents ADVANCED MATERIALS // 79
Heat-resistant ceramics and other
materials could create new options
for air travel. The Victoria University
of Wellington, for example, is part
of a global team that is working on
technologies that could lead to the
development of electric or hybrid
aircraft within two decades.
'The international drive to decarbonise
the world has mostly focused on the
development of alternative energy,'
Professor Kate McGrath, Vice-Provost
(Research) at Victoria University told
Forge magazine (see story on page
80). 'The next evolution is developing
and exploiting new materials so that a
wider range of products and services
can be powered by alternative fuels, or
use less fossil fuels.'
University of Melbourne leads the way
in advanced-materials research
The University of Melbourne is bringing
together key researchers through its new
Hallmark Materials Research initiative.
The Initiative has three core themes:
Materials in Medicine, Materials for
Energy, and Controlled Assembly of
Materials (see story on page 84).
The University is particularly strong
in advanced-materials research for
the construction industry. A team of
researchers is working on ways to
reduce or eliminate the amount of
cement in concrete; these researchers
are among the best in the world in their
feld. Cement is one of humankind’s
most used materials, and its production
process makes it one of the highest
emitters of carbon dioxide.
The team's research ranges from using
waste materials from coal and iron
ore, and other minerals in concrete; to
biology principles that develop self-
healing concrete; to creating much
lighter concrete that reduces building
costs by up to 40 per cent, without
afecting building strength. University
of Melbourne researchers are also testing
the durability and life span of cement-
less concrete to confrm its benefts for
the construction industry.
Other University of Melbourne
researchers are developing a cheaper,
more efcient way to produce heat-
resistant ceramic materials for future
rockets and hypersonic airlines.
Their ceramics can survive higher
temperatures than those currently used
in the space shuttle.
The collision of 3D printing and
advanced-materials research is another
focus. Melbourne School of Engineering
researchers are developing advanced
steel 3D-printing technology that can
be used for larger-scale processes and
technologies. The technology could lower
the cost of steel 3D printing, and reduce
the amount of energy used in the process.
New Zealand researchers are taking
materials research to new galaxies
Victoria University of Wellington,
New Zealand's top-ranked university
for research, is also driving significant
discoveries in advanced materials.
The University is contributing to
the development of an all-electric
Technology Roadmap sponsored
by the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA), the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE) and the University
The Roadmap will lay out the
technologies that are required to make
global air transportation safer, more
efcient and more environmentally
friendly over the next 40 years, as
well as those that are required for the
development of electric or hybrid
aircraft, with the frst 50-seat planes
expected to appear in 15--20 years.
Victoria University researchers are
also developing advanced materials
for energy-efcient photovoltaics,
and focusing on next-generation solar
cells. Their work could one day help
develop advanced semiconductors that
are cheaper to make and more energy-
efcient, and reduce the world’s reliance
on silicon-based solar cells.
Another Victoria University research
group is pioneering the detection of the
optical signature of a single molecule at a
time, which could lead to ultra-sensitive
diagnostic tools for disease detection.
Researchers at the prestigious MacDiarmid
Institute for Advanced Materials and
Nanotechnology, hosted at Victoria
University, are investigating new optical,
electronic, magnetic and superconducting
materials that will expand the range and
number of New Zealand industries using
A grand vision in bioprinting organs
At the University of Wollongong in
New South Wales, Australian Laureate
Fellow and renowned materials scientist
Professor Gordon Wallace is leading
research that could eventually build
artifcial organs (see story on page 76).
The research, if successful, could
contribute to one of the most important
advances in medicine.
3D bioprinting -- using machines to
print organs -- could in coming decades
transform the lives of patients waiting
on organ transplant lists. Organs printed
with the patient's own cells would
overcome issues of rejection and the need
for immunosuppressant drugs. Machines
could also increase the supply of much-
Asked if bioprinting will ever come
to fruition, Professor Wallace says in
this issue of Forge: 'There are lots of
challenges to overcome to enable the
level of sophistication you need to print
structures that function as an organ, but
in 15 to 20 years -- yes'.
Tony Featherstone is a former
managing editor of BRW and Shares
magazines and writes extensively on
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