X-rays for gold

China and Australia are the world’s two largest producers of gold. So, it’s fitting that a device combining Australian and Chinese research, and capabilities in high-tech manufacturing, is set to shake up the industry.

Ore processors need to know how much gold is in their raw material to get the most out of it. The current industry standard for testing ore is the fire assay, an elaborate and time-consuming process that requires temperatures over 1000 degrees and toxic chemicals such as lead. It also takes at least 8 hours to complete.

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From sky to hospital

Working together to create advanced manufacturing industries

The maiden flight of the COMAC C919 airliner in May 2017 illustrated China’s ambition in advanced manufacturing.

Many of the airliner’s parts are made using 3D printing, and Australian engineers are working with their Chinese colleagues to develop the technology further.

Continue reading From sky to hospital

Tougher materials for bigger turbines

The Danish wind turbine company Vestas is teaming up with Australian scientists to develop stronger carbon fibre composite materials to be used in reinforcing turbine blades.

Vestas has funded two years of research at Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus facility in Geelong into strengthening carbon fibre.

Continue reading Tougher materials for bigger turbines

Hypersonic travel

Brussels to Sydney in less than three hours.

A passenger jet could one day fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. That’s the goal of the High-speed Experimental Fly project (HEXAFLY): going beyond the supersonic realm pioneered by the now-defunct Concorde to reach hypersonic speeds more than five times as fast as sound.

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Quantum computing in silicon

A French-Australian collaboration is setting out to make silicon quantum computing a practical reality.

“I’m excited by our technology because it has the potential to change the world,” says Professor Andrew Dzurak of the University of New South Wales, the quantum computing expert who leads the Australian side of the partnership.

Andrew and his colleagues hope that their work will enable computing capabilities that are out of reach today and perhaps also result in the first universal quantum computer. Continue reading Quantum computing in silicon

Printing in metal

Australia’s pioneering 3D metal printing technology is now at work in Toulouse, printing components for the French aerospace company, Safran Power Units.

3D printing has the potential to transform manufacturing, allowing rapid prototyping of components, and the creation of lighter and more efficient components that would be impossible to make using traditional casting technologies. But there are many challenges to overcome to ensure that the components meet the intense engineering and regulatory requirements of the aerospace industry. Continue reading Printing in metal

Hypersonic travel

Brussels to Sydney in less than three hours

A passenger jet could one day fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. That’s the goal of the HEXAFLY project (High-speed Experimental FLY): going beyond the supersonic realm pioneered by the now-defunct Concorde to reach hypersonic speeds more than five times as fast as sound.

Led by the European Space Agency, the project has now brought on international collaborators to prepare for an early stage test flight planned for 2020.

Continue reading Hypersonic travel

The future of electronics is chemical

We can’t cram any more processing power into silicon-based computer chips.

But a paper published in Nature overnight reveals how we can make electronic devices 10 times smaller, and use molecules to build electronic circuits instead.

We’re reaching the limits of what we can do with conventional silicon semiconductors. In order for electronic components to continue getting smaller we need a new approach.

Molecular electronics, which aims to use molecules to build electronic devices, could be the answer. Continue reading The future of electronics is chemical

Would electric cars crash the grid?

Widespread adoption of electric cars in New South Wales would increase demand on the power grid by an average of eight per cent, according to new research from the School of Engineering.

Sohaib Rafique and Professor Graham Town used data from the New South Wales Household Travel Survey to determine the demand that electric cars would place on the grid if they were used in 82 per cent of weekday and 81 per cent of weekend commutes, with trips less than 35km in length. Continue reading Would electric cars crash the grid?

Protecting users’ privacy online

Ten internet searches can be enough to reveal your identity online, according to research from Macquarie University and CSIRO’s Data61 that was presented at The Web Conference 2018 yesterday.

But the researchers have developed a new method—called Incognito—to better protect users’ online privacy through obfuscating the web data they leave behind. Continue reading Protecting users’ privacy online