The Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) is a key research strength at the University of Wollongong and is the lead node of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and lead node of the Australian Fabrication Facility (ANFF) - Materials node.
Professor Gordon Wallace and his team at IPRI are recognised internationally as world leaders in the development of ‘intelligent’ materials and nanotechnology.
The IPRI team 2012
Researchers work with materials in the nano-domain (that is, with particles as small as one billionth of a millimetre) where electronic conductivity is vastly higher than in larger structures. Their challenge is to make materials at these nanodimensions and assemble them into larger structures (micro or macro) that retain the special characteristics of the nanocomponents, resulting in improved functionality.
IPRI is renowned for expertise in the electrochemistry of organic conductors; especially when those conductors are used in the applications of artificial muscles, photovoltaics, batteries, and biomedical applications.
Exciting new developments in nanoscale materials offer the potential for groundbreaking improvements in charge generation and transfer, which can be used to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society. Challenges such as renewable energy (plastic solar cells, lightweight batteries and electronic textiles), sustainable industries (which would benefit from advances in the recovery of precious metals and new corrosion protection technologies) and medical science (nerve and muscle regeneration and cell communications).
The high quality of research in nanotechnology and materials science at IPRI was recognised, strengthened and rewarded with the establishment in 2005 of an ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), with partners from Monash University, the Bionic Ear Institute, St Vincents Health and the NSW Department of State and Regional Development. $12 million funding was provided to form ACES with the aim to concentrate expertise and encourage collaboration among high quality researchers to maintain and develop Australia’s international standing in research areas of high priority.
World-class facilities and team
IPRI is situated at the state-of-the-art Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) Facility at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus and draws together researchers from a range of disciplines, including biologists, clinicians, chemists, physicists and engineers. Professor Gordon Wallace is the Executive Research Director of this ARC Centre of Excellence. The Centre recently received an additional $7.7 million in funding from the ARC from July 2010 to December 2013 to continue to build on the progress achieved since 2005 in developing electromaterials for use in relevant applications.
In addition to the ACES core projects of synthesis, characterisation and modelling of new electromaterials, energy conversion, energy storage, ethics and bionics, IPRI has related research activities supported by CRC Polymers, DSTO, University of South Australia, and several Commercial Partners. IPRI has developed global linkages with research institutions in the USA, Japan, Korea, China, Ireland and the United Kingdom, with a growing international reputation and important industry partnerships.
- Intelligent polymers and nanostructures
- New electrode materials and functional electrolytes
- Spinning nanostructured fibres
- Electromechanical actuators
- Chemical and mechanical sensing networks
- Nanodimensional electrocatalysts
- Organic and inorganic batteries
- Nano biotechnology and biomaterials
- Cellular interactions
- Medical devices for diagnostic and therapeutic use