The aerospace and defence industry makes up 14 per cent of the total composites market by value, and this is estimated to grow to around 16 per cent of the market by 2021. Aerostructures, or components of an aircraft's airframe, including all or part of the fuselage, wings, or flight control surfaces, may be manufactured from composite materials and increasingly advanced fibres are being used to strengthen and reduce weight in space and aerospace applications.
Growing demand for increased energy output from wind turbines has led to an increasing use of carbon fibre in the manufacture of turbines and rotor blades. Lighter and stiffer carbon fibre reinforcement means larger dimensions are possible for both land-based and offshore wind systems. The wind energy industry is the fastest growing renewable energy source in many countries and is expected to continue to grow rapidly over the period to 2030. Production of wind energy is largely concentrated in Europe and the United States. However, there has also been rapid growth in the wind energy industries in China and India. At the end of 2018, there were 94 wind farms in Australia, delivering nearly 6 GW of wind generation capacity. In 2019 in Victoria, there were 25 operating wind farms with capacity to deliver 1.7 GW of power. More than 20 new farms were approved or under construction. The new Vestas Renewable Energy Hub, on the site of a former Ford car plant in Geelong, will assemble wind turbines for Victorian projects, underpinned by 64 per cent local content under the Labor government’s Victorian Industry Participation Policy.
Advanced fibre composite materials have contributed to the development of vehicles for more than 50 years, making more and more things possible in terms of design, durability, and light weighting. Today, advanced fibre and composite materials bring new benefits and applications that are becoming even more relevant in the context of an increasingly diverse and fast-evolving mobility. Reducing the weight in the unsprung mass of a car – in the wheels, for example - has vastly improved fuel efficiency and vehicle performance overall. The development of new fuels and energies is also bringing new opportunities for advanced fibre applications, particularly for battery housings and integration in electric vehicles (EVs), and for onboard hydrogen storage for fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs). Technologies in automotive and transport range from thermoplastics to thermosets, from glass fibre to carbon fibre, enabled and enhanced by new high tech simulation, optimisation, modeling capabilities and production techniques.
Advanced Manufacturing
Technologies and innovations in the development of advanced fibres, textiles and composites have led to product breakthroughs and major step changes in processes for manufacturers.  The results are leading to high value manufacturing focused on value creation rather than cost. In Geelong and the region, these breakthroughs have ranged from world-first techniques for enhancing fabrics to major improvements in composite manufacture.  Advanced manufacturers, using high tech simulation methods, optimisation, modelling capabilities and groundbreaking production techniques, are solving grand challenges, some of which have dogged engineers and researchers for centuries.
Architects and engineers around the world are applying composites in a variety of ways, ranging from curtain wall panels to roofing systems. One notable example is the Apple store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL, US, located on North Michigan Ave. at the Chicago River. The store, mostly subterranean, features a massive carbon fibre composite roof supported by four interior pillars. In Melbourne, the award-winning extension of the Westgate Bridge by John Holland incorporated the largest application of carbon fibre to a bridge structure anywhere in the world. Advanced fibre composite solutions are improving sustainability and design across the construction and infrastructure sector, where lighter weight and durability lends itself to bridges and other structures that do not rust, are faster to erect and are longer lasting.
Assisted Mobility
New assistive and wearable technologies that augment the body’s natural physical abilities are being made possible because of advanced fibre composite design and innovation. Carbon fibre is being used in the design of exoskeletons for factory workers in heavy industries and for new generation devices and mobility solutions to make life easier for people with disabilities. Advanced fibre technologies open the door to innovative solutions because they are lightweight, strong and adaptable.
High Performance Sport
Design is at the centre of all composite development - and excellent design is critical to the development of high performance sporting equipment. From the world’s best rowing racing boats to performance-centric road-cycling wheels, carbon fibre composites offer a wide range of light-weighting, structural and functionality benefits. Carbon and other advanced fibre-reinforced composites are found in products used for 7 of the 10 most popular outdoor sports and recreational activities. Carbon fibre leads the way in this market because of its high rigidity, tensile strength and chemical resistance with low weight. At least 10,000 metric tonnes of carbon fibre is estimated globally to go into sports equipment each year, replacing traditional materials like wood, steel and aluminium.
Advanced Textiles
Textile innovation is creating some of the biggest solutions and impacts around the world today. Among these are eco-friendly water-repellent and breathable textile treatments for clothing, and highly engineered fabrics designed to withstand extreme temperature and pressure conditions in advanced manufacturing. These are the result of considerable research and development and sophisticated manufacturing processes. Some of the most effective, durable and high-performance textile effects are being developed in and around Geelong and Deakin University’s Institute of Frontier Materials.