Addressing a Grand Challenge

The challenge is a grand one in the field of complex composite manufacture: lower the failure rate caused by resin shrinkage during the cure process while also reducing manufacturing cycle times. 

Two Geelong-based companies, Sykes and Carbon Revolution, have been working together, as part of an Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong project, to find the answers to this problem – something that has long perplexed composite manufacturers.

The project is enhancing productivity as well as the quality of complex composite components by controlling and optimising the cure process. 

The research has been driven by researchers from Carbon Nexus, part of the Institute of Frontier Materials at Deakin University, with matched funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.

Carbon fibre reinforced composite materials provide excellent lightweight solutions for structural components in the automotive, aerospace, wind energy and sporting goods industry sectors. This project addresses the challenge of resin shrinkage during cure, encountered by composite manufacturers demanding reduced cycles times, superior performance, and high quality componentry.

The multi-disciplinary team from Deakin, Sykes and Carbon Revolution have combined both experiment and simulation to develop processes that rapidly optimise the quality, appearance and performance of components, where previously these could only be achieved through a time consuming trial and error process.

These breakthroughs will enable the development of a universal toolkit to design cure profiles for resins in complex components simply and effectively. 

Both Carbon Revolution and Sykes are members of the Advanced Fibre Cluster, an initiative from a group of highly innovative Geelong companies that has the goal of establishing the region as a global centre of excellence for advanced fibre and composites innovation.

Carbon Revolution is an Australian company, which has successfully innovated, commercialised and industrialised the supply of Carbon Fibre wheels to the global automotive industry. The founders of the company have progressed from single prototypes to designing and manufacturing the highest performing wheels for some of the fastest cars and most prestigious brands in the world. As a global leader in light weight wheel technology, Carbon Revolution continues to innovate and improve the performance of its automotive technology and diversify by applying its technology to aerospace and industrial applications.

Sykes is a leading manufacturer of world-renowned rowing shells. Four Olympic Gold Medals and over 30 other medals at Olympics and World Championships stand as a testament to the excellence in design and quality of manufacture begun in 1966 and still continued at the company’s Geelong, Australia, manufacturing site. Sykes now employs a team of dedicated engineers, CAD designers, finite element analysis experts and some of Australia’s finest carbon fibre production staff.