Multi-Disciplinary Material Sciences

Advances in materials technologies on the critical path to the delivery of many new and potentially disruptive defence capabilities. Exploring materials and processes that support advanced manufacturing especially for advanced sensor and detector technologies.

Capabilities and UWA Competitive Advantage

  • Novel and advanced microelectronic, optoelectronic and photonic materials and fabrication techniques for a wide range of sensor and detector technologies, especially microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) advanced manufacturing (micromachining) providing optical MEMS-based infrared sensing technologies for spectroscopy and/or imaging.
  • Other sensor materials platforms include for infrared, hyperspectral, terahertz band, magnetic biosensing, optical/fibre optical systems, low-noise sapphire microwave oscillators, gravitometers, gas, chemical, pressure and temperature sensors.
  • Combining biology, physics, visual psychology, art and computer vision to develop nanomaterials that are beyond the human sensory experience and based on biological defence strategies, to camouflage a 3D object
  • Functional materials (intelligent or smart metals), specifically shape memory alloys and magnetoelastic materials; lightweight alternatives to conventional actuators.
  • Granular materials and fracture formation.
  • Ultrafine and nano powders, nanomaterials and nanostructured ceramics.
  • Polymers, geopolymers, ceramics and composites.
  • Explosives.
  • New impact-resistant carbon fibre composites, composite–metal adhesive bonding, and composite repairs.
  • Alloy development for 3D printing of metals using selective laser melting, resulting in superior material properties
  • Electromagnetic interference shielding conductive cementitious composites using 3D printing
  • Development of high-performance construction materials for defence applications
  • Blast analysis of construction materials and structures
  • Development of fire-resistant materials for defence applications
  • Synthesis of nanocomposite coating materials comprising polymer and various nanomaterials as fillers for electromagnetic interference shielding

Key contact

Dr Farhad Aslani, BSc, MSc, PhD
Director of Materials and Structures Innovation Group, Associate Professor in Structural Engineering, School of Engineering
Phone: +61 8 6488 1841

Outcomes and Impact

  • Non-woven Kevlar fibre veils for interfacial toughening and electrochemical corrosion resistance, and resin pre-coating for composite repair and stronger adhesive bonding with metals.
  • More efficient, less expensive and more adaptable lubricants, heat transfer fluids, solvents for electrodeposition, and electrolytes in batteries and capacitors, suitable for environmentally harsh conditions.
  • Low cost sensing technologies designed for real-world applications with foci including the environment, infrastructure monitoring and airborne remote sensing.
  • A new class of sensors operating in the IR part of the spectrum that provide unique multi-spectral sensing capabilities with reduced size, weight and power requirements. Applications in multi-spectral imaging, night vision, and standoff spectroscopy sensors, with a strong focus on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications in defence and security.
  • First in the world to demonstrate the ability to 3D print amorphous parts of any size, superconducting components, and low-modulus beta-titanium alloys. Developing new high strength-to-weight structures and measuring the strain rate properties of 3D printed solid and porous structures for impact/blast protection applications.
  • Developed 3D printed conductive cementitious composites for electromagnetic interference shielding.
  • Developed fire-resistant lightweight cementitious composites for defence applications


  • The WA node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) at UWA provides advanced fabrication and manufacturing capabilities for in-house sensor technology research and development, in a completely vertically-integrated facility, from materials growth, through device design, fabrication and testing, to packaging and sub-system assembly. ANFF-WA in particular hosts a unique national capability for fabrication and testing of micro-electro-mechanical systems.
  • UWA Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis – world class electron, ion, light imaging and microanalysis facilities, including flagship ion probe and MRI facilities
  • Electromagnetic Interference Shielding Testing Facility