Centre for Advanced Materials Processing
and Manufacturing

Our Expertise

The University of Queensland has a long history of working with industry and has considerable experience in a number of areas. AMPAM coordinates UQ’s manufacturing expertise in the following specialities.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) is becoming an important manufacturing technology that is creating new opportunities in both product design and manufacturing flexibility. AMPAM has an emerging research strength in additive manufacturing across a range of materials including polymers, metals and ceramics. AMPAM is a core participant in the ARC Research Hub for Transforming Australia’s Manufacturing Industry through High Value Additive Manufacturing and is collaborating with national and international industry end-users and other Australian universities to facilitate the adoption of advanced metal 3D printing technologies. Together with QMI Solutions (a core AMPAM participant), we are also working with Australian SMEs from a range of industries to assist in the adoption of multi-material additive manufacturing technologies. AMPAM researchers are also developing new customised 3D printable metal alloys and affordable and high speed 3D printing technologies. We also work with a range of polymeric materials and are developing new technologies suitable for producing engineering ceramics through 3D printing.

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The University of Queensland has a long history of working with industry on solidification and casting problems. Our industry partners include Rio Tinto Alcan, Nissan Castings, Ford Australia, Investment Castings, Bradken, Hydrexia, Nihon Superior and others. We have a world leading research group with a reputation for excellent science and providing technical solutions to industry. With our research partners in CSIRO and Monash University all casting processes are investigated. AMPAM has particular strengths in grain refinement, silicon modification, lead-free solders, microstructural control and defect minimisation of porosity, hot tearing and segregation. We currently work on aluminium, magnesium, titanium and other high temperature metal alloys, electronic and energy storage materials, and wear resistant cast irons.

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Composites Manufacturing and Evaluation

The UQ Composites group is renowned for its expertise in the application of thermoplastic polymers for composites manufacturing, surface optimisation and joining of dissimilar materials; the development of biobased composites including natural fibre composites and nanocomposites; the application of linear and non-linear ultrasonic techniques for materials characterisation, damage evaluation and structural health management; and numerical simulation of guided wave propagation and scattering as well as damage initiation and evolution. Current research partners include Airbus Helicopters, DMTC and DSTO and we collaboratively work with colleagues from the University of Bordeaux, Monash University, RMIT and University of Auckland.

View Composites website

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Research at The University of Queensland continues to provide the scientific understanding of the corrosion, flammability and stress corrosion cracking of magnesium and magnesium alloys. This research is targeted at automobile, medical and aerospace applications, and is resourced by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Design in Light Alloys, Cast CRC, General Motors Global Research and Development and Boeing Research and Technology.

Our research on the influence of hydrogen on metallic components for clean energy is an ARC Linkage project with Alstom Power Systems and Griffith University were a state of the art Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy apparatus is being build to enable study of hydrogen-microstructure interactions. The project aims to identify or design medium strength steels that are useable in hydrogen atmospheres to facilitate the hydrogen energy economy. The project will lead to a better understanding of the hydrogen embrittlement resistance of commercial medium strength steels for use in hydrogen pipelines, pressure vessels and turbogenerator components. More efficient, cheaper and safer clean energy will be the result.

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Research into Advanced Forming Mechanics at UQ is specialised on providing fundamental and practical insight and control of highly nonlinear plastic deformation processes to produce many everyday products from sheet metal. The group has dedicated experience with theoretical Finite Element modelling and control of Advanced Forming processes including unique experience with important tribological effects. Recent applications include Cold Roll Forming, Incremental Press Forming and Millipede Forming (inventors).

Major research has commenced on the modelling and control of  Incremental Sheet Forming and is supported by Boeing and QMI. Millipede forming is a new continuous press forming process that combines the speed and efficiency of roll forming shaped product from continuous flat sheet with the continuous control and precision of an array of specially synchronized oscillatory dies and is supported by the recently developed Millipede Company business structure to commercialise the technology.

AMPAM facilities boasts one of the few state-of-the-art ISF machines that allows mold based forming for greater control and quality, Millipede prototype machines, an experimental roll former, two disk rolling contact tribological testrig and laser measurement technology.

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Joining processes are important in the production of many components and are also commonly used in the repair and maintenance of plant and equipment.  At the University of Queensland, we have several projects that interface with both national and international industrial partners to provide support and make advances in joining technology.  The range of  processes which are of interest to our partners is diverse and includes adhesive bonding, self-piercing riveting, soldering, aluminium brazing, diffusion bonding and laser and conventional welding. 

These processes are used to join a range of metallic, non-metallic, composite and dissimilar materials for a variety of applications including biomedical, electrical, structural and functional. Current partners include Nihon Superior, Cook Medical and Henrob.  As part of this program we interface with other researcher institutions including Osaka, Kyushu universities and the Australian Universities within the CAST CRC and the Defence Materials Technology Centre.

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The University of Queensland is an emerging world leader in metal machining. Our industry and research partners extend across Australia and include BAE systems Australia, Ferra Engineering, Millatec Engineering, Seco Tools and DSTO. The University of Queensland has multi-axis Milling machines and CNC turning lathes at our premises along with a number of process monitoring tools. AMPAM also has access to the latest machine tool systems at our industry partners’ shop floor to carry out application based R&D activities.

AMPAM has particular strengths in turning and milling operations, advanced cooling technologies, laser-assisted machining, vibration monitoring, tool coatings, micromachining/ultra precision grinding and industry best practice. We currently work on a host of aerospace grade materials including titanium (α, α+β and β alloys), ferrous alloys, aluminium and magnesium.

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Polymer Processing

The polymer processing facilities at The University of Queensland are internationally renowned in both breadth of scale (from small, pilot and large scale equipment) and because of our links to fundamental processing understanding (links to polymer characterization, rheology (flow behavior) and polymer performance resources). Our industry partners include Integrated Packaging, Plantic Technologies Ltd, Rheology Solutions, Anoxkaldenes, Veolia, RSL Care and many consulting partners.

We have research partners from QUT, CSIRO, ANSTO and UNSW. Our particular research skills are in polymer formulation and blending, rheology, flow simulation, polymer properties and lifetime modelling. Polymer systems we are currently examining include bio-based polymers, natural composites, degradable polyethylene, nanocomposites, thermoset coatings and supercritical polymer processing for aerospace, agricultural, biomedical and high value industrial plastics applications.

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Powder Metal Science And Engineering

The University of Queensland is an international leader in the powder metallurgy (PM) of the light metals with pioneering research in PM aluminium alloys beginning in the early 1990s, led by Prof Graham Schaffer, supported by Australian and US industry, the Australian Research Council and the CAST CRC. More than 90 people-years work has been accumulated in this field.

Since 2004, the research in the group has been further extended to include a range of novel powder processing and sintering processes and other metals and alloys. A powder metal injection (PIM) laboratory and a high vacuum (10‑3 pa) high power (3 kW) microwave (MW) sintering laboratory were established in 2010.

In addition, we are a partner in a newly established spark plasma sintering laboratory at Monash University. Current primary research activities of the group include powder metallurgy of (i) titanium and its alloys with the assistance of density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics (MD) modelling; (ii) aluminium and its alloys with the assistance of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling; (iii) amorphous alloys (Al-based and Ti-based); (iv) porous metallic materials (metal foams); and (vi) metal-ceramic hybrids and/or composites.

Surface Engineering

The University of Queensland is a world leader in research on light metals, including aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys. The task of surface engineering is to improve the surface durability of this group of structural materials so that they can be used in corrosive, wearing and oxidization environments through surface modification and coating. 

Our internationally recognized researchers associated with AMPAM have developed a number of novel surface treatment technologies, including packed powder diffusion coating, surface nanocrystallization, anodizing and kinetic metallization for light alloys, which provide technical solutions to industry. Our industry partners include Rosebank Engineering Pty Ltd and Institute of Metallurgical Technology Co. Ltd, China. We also collaboratively work with our research partners in Monash University, Deakin University and CSRIO to conduct comprehensive characterization of the surface performance of the metals.

In addition, we have been successful in extending the new technologies to surface treatment of ferrous alloys, including welding, and to development of new biomaterials for implants with improved bioactivity.

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