2016 Clunies Ross Innovation Award - Professor Peter Murphy

June 15, 2016
Clunies Ross Innovation Award 2016 - Professor Peter Murphy, Professor in the Energy and Advanced Manufacturing strand of the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia. Putting the plastic mirror on the road. Professor Murphy, from the University of South Australia, has led an industry-focused research team specialising in thin-film coating science to develop a world first plastic automotive rear view mirror. With more than 10 years’ experience working in private industry, Professor Murphy has demonstrated outstanding research leadership across the industry/academia interface. The Plastic Mirror is the world’s first lightweight, injection compression moulded polycarbonate automotive rear-view mirror. It is half the weight of traditional glass mirrors, distortion free, shatterproof, resistant to UV weathering, abrasion resistant, withstands temperature extremes and offers design freedom and a simplified assembly process not possible with glass. Professor Murphy and the project team – Dr Colin Hall, Associate Professor Drew Evans and Dr Kamil Zuber, Mr James Nicholson, Dr Scott Edwards, Mr Simon Field and Mr Bill Frank – have uniquely progressed Australia’s capability in advanced manufacturing through this product, which to date has seen more than 1.5 million mirror assemblies manufactured in Adelaide and exported to the USA. The Plastic Mirror results from a collaborative research and development partnership between Professor Murphy and his colleagues with SMR Automotive (SMR), funded through the Automotive Australia 2020 Cooperative Research Centre. They have taken the technology through a fundamental research phase, process development and scale-up, to the design and development of an advanced manufacturing facility at SMRs Adelaide manufacturing operations. Its unique features are delivered through the application of nanoengineered coatings. A thin plastic structure is transformed into an effective mirror by applying multiple layers of thin films known as a ‘coating stack’ – an abrasion resistant resin coating, silicon, chromium zirconium alloy and a water-repelling material individually deposited at layer thicknesses between10 nanometres to 3 microns. The Plastic Mirror became a commercial reality in 2009 with validation of processes to supply Ford USA with car mirrors and the design of an SMR Plastic Mirror production facility in Adelaide. Video Credit: Hase Productions Pty Ltd
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