Dr Nishar Hameed—Group Leader, Smart Polymers and Composites— has been named joint winner of the Royal Society of Victoria’s (RSV) Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences.
The Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award is for excellence in scientific research by an early career researcher in the physical sciences.
Dr Hameed’s research focusses on developing innovative technologies from advanced composite materials, which will be beneficial both economically and environmentally.
“The new technologies that I have produced are smart and flexible composites that can be manufactured rapidly,” he says.
Two global trends are becoming increasingly popular in the transport industry—the use of lightweight materials and the integration of smart functionalities.
This is especially true for the automobile industry where future cars will have smarter connection capabilities, be lightweight and fuel-efficient, with a body strong enough to avoid catastrophic collisions.
The carbon fibre composites—which are stronger than steel and lighter than aluminium—are 10-times smaller than the width of a human hair.
These carbon fibres are essential for the future of low-cost, sustainable mass transport, with more than 50 per cent of the Boeing 787 aircraft being manufactured from carbon fibre composites. These composites are integrated with graphene—the wonder material—as an enabler for smart functionalities such as pressure, temperature and damage/collision sensing.
“These composites are estimated to save up to 45 per cent of the weight of current passenger cars,” Dr Hameed says.
“Lighter and smarter cars will have lower fuel consumption, which means lower emissions, and we can do our bit for climate change while driving a safer car. A win-win for all the drivers.”
Dr Hameed’s achievements include many ‘firsts’ in this field, inspiring follow-up research and commercialisation.
His recent breakthrough research on rapid manufacturing of smart and lightweight composites can potentially revolutionise the way we make these materials, and lead next generation composite technologies.