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Fire resistant biological materials

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Xungai Wang
    Dr R Varley
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Some biological materials have extraordinary fire resistant properties. It has been reported that the common cypress trees can survive forest fires and the cypress tree leaves take seven times as long to ignite as other kinds of trees

The underlying reason for this intriguing property of cypress tree leaves at the material structural level is not yet well understood. Similar to a composite material, the trees contain cellulose fibrils embedded in a biological resin. Understanding how such a biological composite structure can impart excellent fire resistance will have significant practical implications for the design of functional materials and products such as fire fighters’ uniforms.

Existing fire fighters uniforms contain a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) layer, which poses a significant challenge in the recycling of such uniforms after use. This issue has also been highlighted in a recent discussion with the Workwear Group in Port Melbourne. An alternative material solution is warranted, and the answer may lie in the naturally fire resistant materials such as the common cypress trees.

Funding Notes


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years



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