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Advanced materials research

Many industries and researchers across the world are developing advanced materials which have novel structures with functional properties that impart significantly higher performance in their target application. We play a significant role in this field of research.

Ceramic-metal composites

Ceramic–metal composite materials (‘cermets’) combine the hardness of ceramics with the fracture toughness of metals, making them candidate materials for wear parts, cutting tools and abrasion resistant components. Our goal is to develop a practical material to complement ‘tungsten carbide’, a cermet produced from strategic minerals with high international commodity prices.  We have developed a process technology for a cermet body manufactured from hard TiC and tough Fe metal, sourced from commonly found ore minerals, such as ilmenite (FeTiO3). Contact Ian Brown

Future materials and structures

We are applying recent discoveries about the physics of wave propagation in meta-materials to the development of high performance acoustic insulation systems. Read more >>

High performance ceramics

High performance ceramics display unique combinations of properties such as high hardness, strength, thermal and physical shock resistance.  Our current research targets the manufacture in New Zealand of new 'sialon[?]' (Si-Al-O-N) ceramics with enhanced thermal and physical properties.  Read more >>

Inorganic cementing systems

Our cementing systems researchers are looking beyond traditional Portland cement-based binders used for mass concrete and standard construction mortars towards new formulations that deliver equivalent performance and promote a “greener” image for the construction industry. Read more >> 

Advanced materials modelling

We have an extensive network of researchers working in the area of nanotechnologies, computational materials design and materials characterisation. We also have a portfolio of multiscale modelling tools, including new mathematical techniques and software for computational materials science, and expertise in synchrotron-based experiments. Read more >> 


Our photonics work involves the design, synthesis and characterisation of organic compounds and polymers of potential use as active components in all-optical switches. Read more >>

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