Engineering materials, including natural resources (such as stone and wood) and man-made materials (such as concrete and steel), are utilised in all construction activities. The use of suitable engineering materials is essential to ensure the safety, durability, serviceability, and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure.

The increasing population growth in Australia and worldwide, imposes increasing demand for engineering materials, especially around major cities. The construction of buildings and infrastructure, however, negatively impacts upon the natural environment’s ecological balance, consuming 32% of the world’s resources and up to 40% of total energy, accounting for 40% of waste to landfills, and contributing about 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is paramount to conduct research on existing materials and develop new materials to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Materials theme covers the development, application, characterisation, recycling, remediation, disposal, modelling and monitoring of engineering materials as part of infrastructure design, development and management. It is a major supporting program of research in CIE. In the Excellence Research Australia (ERA) survey of universities in 2015, Western Sydney University’s Materials Engineering sector received the highest possible score of 5, placing it well above world average and at the world’s cutting edge in this field of engineering.

Major research areas of this theme include (but are not limited to) high performance steel, stainless steel, high performance concrete, recycled concrete, geopolymer concrete, fibre reinforced cementitious composites, masonry, wood, geofoam, metal foams, and Nanocomposites.  

Program Director: Professor Zhong Tao