RMIT University research and innovation will be showcased at the international Engineers Australia convention this week.
Convention 2014 brings together experts and practitioners from areas including aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electronics, mechatronics and manufacturing, looking at innovative technologies that could transform the Australian economy in the next decade.
RMIT is a major sponsor of the event and will be represented through participation on panels, presentations of research projects, tours of its facilities, as well as demonstrations of innovative approaches to design and technology.
Professor Aleksandar Subic, Dean of Engineering at RMIT, will chair the Future of Manufacturing in Australia forum at the convention, which will involve leaders from a range of industry sectors.
An industry event will also be hosted at RMIT's $25 million Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP).
Professor Subic said the AMP brought together expertise in innovative technology and design through 3D printing technologies and processes.
The cutting-edge facilities at the AMP support a range of projects by researchers in RMIT's multi-disciplinary Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CAM).
"The AMP houses the latest in industrial platform technologies focusing on additive manufacturing, including high precision 3D metal and polymer printing, with applications in medical manufacturing, aerospace manufacturing and defence manufacturing," Professor Subic said.
"Among the projects, our experts are working with Melbourne surgeons to develop 3D printed implants to replace cancerous bone, which can be tailor-made for patients undergoing surgery."
The aim of the project is to enable the surgeon to excise the damaged bone, then use MRI or CAT scans of the area to create the 3D geometry of the customised part for additive manufacturing of the replica of the removed bone.
The replica part - made of a specially-designed titanium structure - can then be inserted into the patient without the need for a separate operation.
This titanium replacement has the same characteristics as the healthy bone, in strength, compression and sheer load carrying ability.
It is expected that bone stem cells will grow into the interface of the titanium scaffolding further providing support and strength to the limb.
The research project is led by Professor Milan Brandt, Technical Director of the AMP and CAM, and is a collaboration with surgeon Professor Peter Choong , from St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.
Academic leaders who will chair or take part in key program panels at the convention include Professor Mike Xie (Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering), Professor Chun Wang (ARC College of Experts for Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics), Professor Mark Burry (Director of the Design Research Institute and Federation Fellow), Professor Ron Wakefield, Professor Derek Walker and Professor Felicity Roddick.
Select PhD candidates will also present papers stemming from their research.
A unique structure designed by a team of RMIT researchers working with industry partner Arup will be built at the convention venue, showcasing high-tech and light weight components to create a customised building form.
The SmartNodes prototype pavilion stems from a collaborative project by RMIT's Design Research Institute.
It explores the potential for pairing unique, high tech, node components with standard beams and fixings to accomplish complex structural forms.
Using customised geometric nodes produced using additive manufacturing technology, the system has the potential for a broad range of affordable designs.
During the convention, tours will also be held of RMIT's other innovative teaching, learning and research spaces including the Design Hub, the Swanston Academic Building, and the Emily McPherson Building.