Academic and Industrial Focus

SEAM aims to solve crucial surface engineering problems, such as the design, fabrication, testing, analysis, and pathways towards value-added applications, all of which enable the Australian manufacturing industry to be more efficient and profitable in the global marketplace.

To spearhead enrichment of Australia’s manufacturing industry, SEAM research will draw upon a global surface engineering expert network that covers Australasia, Asia, Europe, and North America.

SEAM has four goals aligned with its initiative toward the industrialisation of academic outcomes.

  1. Implementing industry/academic projects that tackle specific surface engineering issues of critical consequence for partner organisations. For example, wear and corrosion resistance within the mining sector, and antibacterial films for medical implants. Solutions will evolve from applied research based on a foundation of scientific understanding rather than the current trial and error methods that lead to quick but highly risky and costly short-term fixes.
  2. Training future industrial and engineering staff via embedding the next generation of surface engineers and technologists into industrial sectors. Further, academics and other professionals within SEAM will engage with partner organisations by visiting their manufacturing environments to help implement new technologies developed in SEAM.
  3. Creating a strong and pervasive training team where industry will work closely with academia to maximise their return by leveraging members of the SEAM team. Additional joint projects will be nurtured within SEAM so that industry can maximise growth and achieve its potential.
  4. Establishing a pragmatic mindset where SEAM research feeds into the economic and productivity needs of industry aimed at enhancing economic growth and competitiveness.

Building Skills and Capacity

Three surface engineering themes form the technological foundation of SEAM, which promotes interaction between and among these technologies.

THEME 1: Nanoscale surface modifications and thin films such as PVD and CVD are used in applications ranging from films for bacterial and infection control, to microelectronics, to hard coatings for the machining industries.

THEME 2: Thick coatings are manufactured by laser and thermal spray technologies. These overlays are used in heavy industries, mining, and in commercial transportation for repair and remanufacturing of components.

THEME 3: Additive manufacturing (AM) is a layer-by-layer deposition process that creates a new surface. The two prime AM technologies explored include laser technology and cold spray. These are considered the most challenging because they involve fabricating near-net artefacts from difficult to process metals such as titanium alloys.