Chase Mining Corporation Limited (ASX:CML) and the University of New South Wales have released further evidence of proof-in-concept progress in developing fibres from topaz collected from the company’s Torrington Tungsten-Topaz Project in NSW.
The research program’s goal is to explore the potential for developing fibres of mullite from aluminosilicate (topaz) to develop high-value products.
Chase Mining’s wholly owned subsidiary Topfire Pty Ltd is the UNSW’s industry partner in the research project.
Research has demonstrated in proof-of-concept that parallel, separable and sufficiently thick fibres by growth on templates can be fabricated, as well as high-purity stepped templates of high surface areas.
Separable mullite fibres have been grown in the absence of a template but these fibres do not have enough width.
Ongoing work will focus on development of experimental parameters suitable to grow mullite fibres in the desirable proportions for inclusion in ceramic and metal-matrix composites.
Also being examined is the contradiction between slow heating to generate large fibres and rapid heating to scrub silicon dioxide with the use of a solid fluorine source, as well as confirmation of mechanical separability of parallel fibres and the effect of selected additives.
Future work will examine the effect of the additives on the formation of templates and their effect on kinetics of mullite fibre growth such as aspect ratio, uniform length and degree of parallel growth.
Research will also investigate the nature of the nucleation and possible catalysis and focus on experimentation to support patenting.