Future materials February

Celebrating UOW's contribution to creating innovative new materials in medical, energy, and environmental technologies

February will see some of the world’s most innovative materials scientists showcase their research on ‘future materials’ with their partners and colleagues at UOW. It will be an opportunity to highlight some of the university’s most recent and significant projects in future materials, and reflect on the last 25 years of research for one of the university’s key research groups.

Future materials is largely about discovering new properties in materials and using them in innovative ways in medical, energy, and environmental technologies, something the university does very well.

Our Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking for Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry field of research code has consistently ranked well-above world standard and is one of only 6 Australian universities to achieve this. Additionally UOW has received the highest possible ranking for Materials Engineering in the latest two ERA evaluations.

It’s easy to see why we rank so well – we have some of the best Materials Scientists working here and collaborating with other key people around the country and overseas, and February will showcase that research with two key symposiums.

Our first international symposium - the Symposium on Future Materials - is hosted by the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) and features experts discussing the latest developments and future directions of materials science, chemistry and physics.

It will include presentations on Energy and Superconducting Materials, Emergent Materials in Physics and Chemistry, Electronic and Optical Materials, Biomaterials, and Nanomaterials, while proceedings for the Symposium will also be published in special issues of Advanced Energy Materials, Energy Storage Materials, and Small.

ISEM researchers were behind the research breakthrough in the fabrication of wires from the superconductor magnesium diobride (MgB2) using silicon carbide nanoparticle doping. The work achieved a world record high critical current carrying capacity which has great potential for practical applications, including fault current limiters, wind turbine generators, power cables, motors, energy storage, and next generation MRI machines.

A celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the ISEM will also be held during the Symposium. Founded by Distinguished Prof. Shi Xue Dou in 1994, the ISEM has grown to over 40 staff and 110 students - with over 180 PhD graduates and more than 200 alumni spread widely throughout academia and industry over five continents. To date the ISEM has published over 2,900 papers, secured more than $72M in funding, and has developed a reputation as one of the world’s premier materials science institutes.

Later in the month, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) hosted Workshop - the 13th Annual International Electromaterials Science Symposium – to be held in Geelong, will investigate the most recent advances in materials science and their electrochemical applications. Providing a multidisciplinary and international forum with topics to cover both the fundamental and applied aspects of electromaterials, new devices (such as medical devices), and Energy and Ethics, the symposium will showcase emerging leaders engaged in the translation of fundamental research into real applications.

ACES collaborator from QUT, Associate Professor Mia Woodruff, has an extraordinary vision to use 3D printing to replace body parts and tissues that is safe and cost-effective. She has been invited once again as a speaker for the symposium along with University of Texas at Dallas collaborator Prof. Mario Romero-Ortega who is investigating the regeneration of nerves to treat spinal cord injuries. Other speakers are featured on the ACES website.

It is one of the key events of the year for the ARC Centre of Excellence (ACES) directed by Distinguished Prof. Gordon Wallace, who was named 2017 Scientist of the Year for leading the work of his team in medical bionics, 3D printing and bioprinting, and energy conversion and storage.

The future is bright for Future Materials at UOW – and in very good hands.