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AMAC UNSW wins JEC Innovation Award

23 December 2019

Shape Adaptive Marine Propeller with Fibre-Optic Sensing

At the recent JEC Asia exhibition that was held in Seoul Korea, the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) was awarded the prestigious JEC Innovation Award in the maritime category for their research, testing and prototyping of a “Shape Adaptive Marine Propeller with Fibre-Optic Sensing”.

Frédéric Reux, Media Director & Editor-in-Chief JEC Group; Thomas Lepretre, Sales Director JEC Group; Kerryn Caulfield, CEO Composites Australia; Professor Gangadhara Prusty, Director at AMAC; Eric Pierrejean, CEO JEC Group; Sung-o Cho, Senior Business Development Manager Austrade; Leona Reif, President Composites Australia.

Increasingly, polymeric composite materials are disrupting the use of traditional alloys for lightweight marine structures. In this novel application, the propeller blade shape is automatically adjusted by fluidic forces, resulting in decreased vibration and optimised cavitation which reduces noise.

The shape adaptive marine propeller, a research program between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), involved the manufacture of a prototype of the composite propeller using AMAC’s Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) technology. The structure also includes embedded fibre-optic sensors to verify manufacturing performance and service. The precise control offered by AFP in laying the carbon/epoxy prepreg tows at specific fibre orientations accurately allowed for the introduction of tailored stiffness distribution into the passive shape-adaptive structure.

Professor Gangadhara Prusty, Director at ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC).

Professor Gangadhara Prusty, Director of AMAC, who leads the research program, along with Drs. Nigel St John and Andrew Phillips of DST says this is a significant breakthrough AMAC UNSW wins JEC Innovation Award Shape Adaptive Marine Propeller with Fibre-Optic Sensing in demonstrating sensor-embedded automated manufacture of adaptive structures using advanced composites.

Kerryn Caulfield, CEO of Composites Australia Inc., says “this shape adaptive advanced composite technology for marine vessels is an important step change for our nation girt by sea”.

The program is progressing legacy research by the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS – now ACS Australia), that validated the novel optimised methodology for the design of passive shape adaptive structures.

Phil Aitchison, VP R&D at Imagine Intelligent Materials (Imagine IM), was awarded Bronze in the JEC Startup Booster. Imagine IM will be heading to JEC World in 2020 to join the Startup Hub in Paris.

AMAC was established under the Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) of the Australian Government and started its operations in 2017. This UNSW led Centre is a collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), Technical University of Munich (TUM), national research institutions and several industry partners from start-ups to OEMs, and is an incubator for automated composite manufacturing innovations and innovators.

Professor Gangadhara Prusty says, “We are grateful for the award, particularly the opportunity to participate in JEC Asia and Austrade’s support for Australian organisations entering the East Asian market.”


This article first appeared in:

Connection Magazine

Issue 51: December, 2019

Author: Kerryn Caulfield

For this and more stories, please download the latest copy of our Connection magazine.

Issue 51, December 2019