The world of materials is as diverse as the many applications we have devised and experimented with.
From wood, fibres and hides, through to glass, ceramics, metals, plastics and rubber, our ability to transform basic resources into high functional products and materials has been astonishing. Some are grown, some are mined and many are so dramatically converted into modern composites, polymers and alloys, that the ability to comprehend their root source is near impossible without technical or scientific knowledge.
For designers, architects, engineers and artists, the novelty and potential of materials provides the basis for creating and producing everything physical around us. A simple taxonomy of materials also helps to differentiate between the ‘natural’ and the artificial, as well as renewable and non-renewable. These characteristics rest at the core of most discussions concerning sustainability and the extent to which society is devouring the future through unsustainable modes of production and consumption.
The Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University in Victoria, is one of the few research centres in Australia brimming with professors and talented academics conducting advanced projects that push the boundaries of new materials with extraordinary functionally.
What differentiates the Institute for Frontier Materials from other groups is their understanding of the circular economy and how their applied research outcomes can be truly restorative and regenerative while delivering superior levels of environmental performance and functionality. And this is further highlighted through their vision, which is to lead and inspire innovations in materials science and engineering that have a transformational benefit to society.
This highly technical and scientific group reflects a broader social maturity, and the wider benefit of how materials are conceived, transformed and consumed in society. They have a noble mission by seeking to create and translate knowledge at the frontier of materials science for globally raised standards of living by:
- Redesigning materials for a circular economy;
- Imparting materials with extraordinary functionality; and
- Innovating with nature’s materials.
Problem-focused within the context of a circular economy, the Institute for Frontier Materials confronts complex challenges in the areas of energy, health, environment and manufacturing. They go beyond yesterday’s materials research that seeks to recycle plastics into garden furniture and synthetic ‘eco’ decking. More so, they are driven by the desire to design materials and associated systems solution that build natural, social and economic capital.
Through their world-class research on next level battery chemistries, carbon fibre, bio-materials and many other materials and substances, the Institute for Frontier Materials is the essence of what it takes to make Australia the clever country without compromising environmental objectives.
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