Revolutionary results call for exceptional processing, quality, and testing control. The Carbon Nexus facility is equipped with the purpose-built technology to conduct every critical step in measuring fibre density, material characterisation, tensile properties and testing, surface area analysis, tension, and surface tension, so you can produce superior results.  

Electron Microscope Facility, Geelong

Housed within the Institute for Frontier Materials. the electron microscope facility supports a wide range of research projects that lead and inspire innovations in materials science and engineering. 

The electron microscope facility contains six purpose-built laboratories, featuring a comprehensive collection of instruments used in the characterisation of materials. 

Fibre Density Measurement

Fibre density provides an indication of the progress of chemical reactions during the conversion of PAN precursor into carbon fibre. Measurement provides rapid feedback regarding the progress of the stabilisation and carbonisation process at any location along the processing line so you can keep a sharp eye on progress and optimise the areas falling short.  

At Carbon Nexus we measure fibre density using two different methods: 

Gas Pycnometry 

Gas pycnometry is a method by which the volume of a sample of fibre may be determined by measuring the amount of gas which the fibre sample displaces under controlled conditions. Then, knowing the volume of a sample of a known length, the linear density of the fibre may be calculated. 

Density Gradient Method 

A sample of fibre is immersed into a liquid column containing a known and calibrated density gradient and allowed to descend through the column. The position at which the sample floats due to its neutral buoyancy indicates the density of the sample. 

Favimat (AI) Robot 2

Carbon Nexus is now the proud owner of the coveted Favimat (AI) Robot2 – the only one in Australia, and one of just 15 in the world.  The Favimat robot simultaneously measures the linear density and tensile properties of individual carbon fibres which are less than a tenth of the diameter of a human hair and very difficult to handle. It can load and test up to 500 samples, removing the need for a highly trained and highly in-demand engineer. With its time and cost-saving benefits alongside other impressive characteristics, the Favimat robot enables a significant reduction in both operator input and associated costs as well as a reduction in possible fibre damage. Favimat (AI) Robot 2 Capabilities: 

  • Simultaneous measurement of linear density and tensile strength of single carbon fibres 
  • Fibre crimp geometry 
  • Metal-to-fibre friction measurements 

Single-Filament Tensile Testing with the FAVIMAT+

Carbon Nexus houses Australia’s first FAVIMAT+ automated single-filament tensile testing machine, manufactured by Textechno in Germany.The unit is complemented by an AIROBOT2 sample handling system consisting of a sample storage unit with magazines and a transfer clamp which takes the fibre from the storage unit and delivers it to the FAVIMAT+ testing section. Compared to conventional testing equipment using separate, manually operated test stations, the FAVIMAT+ with AIROBOT2 reduces testing labour time by as much as 95 percent. The FAVIMAT+ simultaneously measures the linear density and tensile properties of individual carbon fibres which are less than a tenth of the diameter of a human hair and very difficult and delicate to handle. The unit can be loaded with up to 500 samples for automated testing and removes the need for a highly trained engineer to carry out time-consuming manual testing. Tensile testing can be carried out during carbon fibre process experiments, fast tracking feedback to researchers regarding fibre properties and identifying optimisation opportunities quickly.  FAVIMAT+ Capabilities 

  • Simultaneous measurement of linear density, tensile strength, and tensile modulus of single carbon fibres 
  • Estimation of fibre diameter 
  • Metal-to-fibre friction measurements 
  • Statistical analysis of test data 

Fibre Tow Testing

In addition to characterising the tensile properties of single filaments of carbon fibre, Carbon Nexus also has the capability to test impregnated tows according to ASTM D4018 or ISO 

Fibre Surface Energy Analysis

Carbon Nexus’ Surface Energy Analyser (SEA) has the ability to evaluate surface energy and wettability of a fibre. The SEA is an inverse gas chromatography system that determines fibre surface properties by injecting vapour pulses into a column packed with the sample being examined. These vapour pulses elute through the column and the retention time is measured by a flame ionisation detector. Varying the vapour probe molecule, flow rate, temperature, or column conditions illuminates a wide range of surface and bulk properties of the sample for thorough analysis.   [H3] Surface Energy Analyser Capabilities 

  • Dispersive and polar surface energy measurements 
  • Acid/base interactions 
  • Micropore and mesopore distributions
  • Surface energy heterogeneity mapping 

Surface Tension Measurement on Solids, Fibres, & Powders

Our Kruss K100 surface tensiometer performs high-precision, automatic and reliable measurement of surface tension and interfacial tension, critical micelle concentration CMC and contact angle on solids, fibres, and powders. With high-quality components and a uniquely wide range of methods, the instrument carries out many tasks in the field of wetting measurement. The simple changeover between different measuring methods takes place entirely without reconfiguring the instrument. The software-controllable sample stage moves in a wide speed range and communicates its exact position to the software with a resolution of 0.1 μm. This adds to the accuracy of results where position control is essential. An integral, automatic stirring function ensures optimum homogenization of dispersions before measuring or rapid equalization of concentration or temperature. The ionizer inside the sample chamber ensures reliable contact angle measurements on solid samples and single fibres. The ionizer automatically removes the troublesome effect of static charge before the measurement is carried out, mitigating the risk of falsifying the result in the form of an additional force. [H3] Kruss K100 Surface Tensiometer Capabilities 

  • Characterisation of the wetting behaviour of fibre bundles and textiles 
  • Sedimentation and ductility of dispersions 
  • Checking of surface modifications 
  • Measurement of surface tension and interfacial tension using the ring, plate, and rod method 
  • Measurement of contact angle and surface free energy of fibre bundles 
  • Sedimentation behaviour of dispersions 
  • Measurement from -15 to 300 °C, temperature measurement with internal or external sensor 

Tension Measurement

A range of hand-held Schmidt DX-Series and DBTX-Series tension meters are used for real-time measurement of fibre tension on the carbonisation lines. 

These meters operate over a specific tension range and are suited for specific tow widths. A 3-roller system for tension measurement relies on the displacement of the middle roller relative to the outer guide rollers to give an indication of line tension. 

Tension meters are checked for accurate calibration on a regular basis according to our Quality Management System. 

In addition to the hand-held tension meters a system of online load-cells constantly monitors the tension of the total tow-band during carbon fibre processing on the Pilot Line. This system continuously monitors tow-band tension at five locations along the Pilot Line, ensuring process consistency and providing valuable process monitoring data. 

Materials Processing 

Carbon Nexus has a suite of materials processing, testing and characterisation facilities to control and oversee your projects with the accuracy, security, and flexibility you need.  Materials processing facilities 

  • Lay-up facilities 
  • Vacuum assisted resin infusion 
  • Programmable curing oven 
  • Vacuum oven 
  • Nitrogen atmosphere oven
  • Hot press

[H3] Materials testing facilities  

  • Mechanical testing facilities 
  • ASTM standard testing 
  • Stress/strain monitoring