The overarching goal is to develop new manufacturing methods and materials that provide solutions to the manufacturing and materials sector in a global economic context.

Global Challenges we are addressing:

Advanced manufacturing

How can new manufacturing methods be developed to improve the efficiency and cost-base of the sector?

Some of our research in advanced manufacturing

Additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a revolutionary process that builds up successive layers of materials to form an end use product from a 3D model. This technology allows rapid design and fabrication of highly customised parts with complex geometries. Having tremendous potential in numerous industrial applications, AM technology is now regarded as a breakthrough that will shape the factories of the future.

The team’s research in this area goes beyond the established AM techniques for polymeric and metallic materials and to extend the material spectrum applicable to AM technology. The UQ team, led by Professor Han Huang and Associate Professor Matt Dargusch, is aiming to develop novel AM processes and powder-based material formulas for manufacturing ceramic components. Such processes will effectively allow the rapid manufacturing of ceramic parts that are optimised to have application specific properties and functional utility.


We are developing new nanomanufacturing tools and processes dedicated to a fundamental understanding of material removal mechanisms and mechanical characterisation of nanomaterials and nanostructures.

Our research focuses on the development of manufacturing technologies for solar energy products, the mechanical characterisations of advanced materials and the design and analysis of MEMS/NEMS structures and other nanostructures. Although we’re working at the nano-scale, our research is having impact globally in photonics, solar panels, electronics and integrated circuits.

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Smart materials

How can smart materials be used to best advantage in manufacturing?

Some of our research in smart materials

Electronic materials

Bringing world-class research capability to the manufacture of electronic materials, the Nihon Superior Centre for the Manufacture of Electronic Materials has a strong focus on commercially relevant and environmentally sustainable research.

The centre specialises in the development of lead-free soldering and brazing alloys and the manufacture of materials for energy storage and transport materials including hydrogen storage and novel solid-state anode materials.

Backed by industry insight, the centre researches the most advanced soldering and brazing technologies and products from around the world, and supplies them to companies within the metal-joining industry.

Light metals and composites

Composite materials are increasingly being used in structural applications due to their low weight-to-strength or weight-to-stiffness properties compared to traditional materials.

One example of increasing popularity is its use in the automotive industry. In current generation supercars, such as the Lamborghini Murcielago, composite materials have replaced metals in chassis, body parts and drivetrain components in an attempt to save weight and increase performance.

UQ’s research in this area focuses on manufacturing, bio-composites and sustainment in materials engineering and manufacturing with the ultimate aim of supporting the transition of new concepts and techniques to practical applications.

Smart polymers and graphene

Current projects in smart polymers are focused on developing new sustainable and bio-based polymers and biochemicals from formulation through to degradation/disposal, understanding processing of nanostructured polymers, developing smarter biopolymers and materials for biomedical, drug delivery, food and high value applications and understanding rheology and processing of a range of polymer, foods and liquids.

We work at the interface between innovation and industry. Specifically this involves working with industry directly, and three cooperative research centres (CRCs), to produce high value sustainable products like biopolymer films for food packaging, sustainable agricultural films for enhanced cropping conditions and industrial applications, and low cost biopolymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) polymers from wastewater streams through biotechnology and polymer science.

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Utilising natural resources

How can we best utilise our natural resources?

Some of our research in utilising natural resources

Advanced mining technology

It is well known that mining is Australia’s largest industry, however, the fact that it is also one of Australia’s most high-tech industries is lesser known. Within 20 years the mining industry is expected to be transformed by automated machines that will replace the equipment currently operated by people to make the industry safer and more productive.

With our industry partners, we’ve used latest technologies to develop a semi-autonomous shovel that can accurately measure payload – something which has been a holy grail earnestly pursued since the 1950s. We’ve also developed collision-avoidance technology, which prevents machine operators from driving the bucket of the shovel into the tracks the machine sits on – a surprisingly common and expensive error.

Sustainable mining and reparation

Through our Sustainable Minerals Institute, UQ is the largest and most diverse research and education group in the world for sustainability in the resources industry. Our seven centres bring together experts in mining, processing, water, energy, environment, safety and risk management, energy and social performance.

Our projects span a range of research areas related to current issues in sustainable development for the minerals industry like energy efficient comminution, mass mining technologies, mine site water management and mine closure.

CRC Mining

The Cooperative Research Centre for Mining (CRCMining) is an internationally recognised multi-million-dollar mining research centre that conducts research to advance mining technology and equipment to support the Australian and global mining industry. There are several university participants and CRCMining is headquartered at UQ.

CRCMining has a significant impact on the mining industry from developing breakthrough technical solutions, like fibre optic sensing technology and the Smart Cap, to educating skilled PhD graduates with mining industry experience. CRCMining’s outcomes from innovative research activities are employed across industry today.

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Related research centres and groups

BaoSteel-Australia Joint Research and Development Centre

Conducting strategic research supporting Baosteel’s business interests, in approved priority themes including innovative materials, new energy, resource utilisation and advanced environmental technologies.

Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM)

AMPAM provides a focus for UQ's materials engineering and manufacturing activities and those of its partners in major successful national collaborative ventures.

Geotechnical Engineering

The Geotechnical Engineering Centre has an active research program and consulting activities specialising in a range of fields in geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering and computational modelling.

Hydrometallury Group

The UQ Hydrometallurgy Research Group is developing a portfolio of high quality fundamental research across a range of hydrometallurgical processes relevant to industry sectors from base metals to Bayer alumina processing.

Materials Engineering

Materials Engineering research is concentrated on the net shape processing of the light metals, particularly casting and solidification of aluminium and magnesium and the powder processing of aluminium. Research is also conducted in corrosion and polymers, including biopolymers.

Mineral Processing and Interfacial Processes

The UQ Mineral Processing and Interfacial Processes Research Group specialises in the study of the physics and chemistry of interfacial processes involving gas/liquid/solid phases.

Mining Technology

Mining engineering research focuses on energy, safety and environment, mining rock mechanics, mining methods and equipment, and mine planning.

Nanomechanics and Nanomanufacturing

The Nanomechanics and Nanomanufacturing Group focuses on nanomechanics solutions for manufacturing solar energy products and miniaturised components and mechanical characterisation of nanostructures.

Nihon Superior Centre for the Manufacture of Electronic Materials

The Nihon Centre has been established with the purpose of bringing world-class research capability to the manufacture of electronic materials.

Power and Energy Systems

Our research activities are centered around renewable generation integration, condition assessment of critical power infrastructure and power electronics control and applications. This includes power system stability, state estimation for distribution networks, power quality, control and operation of power systems and transformer condition monitoring with a specific focus on the needs of the Australian electricity supply industry.

Pyrometallurgy Innovation Centre (PYROSEARCH)

The Pyrometallurgy Innovation Centre, previously PYROSEARCH, provides research services to the minerals industry worldwide in the areas of non-ferrous and ferrous metal smelting and refining, and coal utilisation.

Renewable Energy Conversion

The Renewable Energy Conversion Centre of Excellence (RECCE) addresses our current and future energy needs through better conversion and management of energy from both renewable sources; like geothermal, solar, wind energy and fuel cells, and non-renewable counterparts.

RT Bauxite and Alumina Technology Centre

Delivering fundamental and applied research for process improvement for the global alumina industry.

Smart Machines

The Smart Machines Group undertakes research into robotic and autonomous machinery with a particular emphasis on control systems, mission planning, environment perception, and human machine interaction.