Australian scientists for the first time have been able to produce the nation’s first home-grown carbon fibre, paving the way for a new Australian industry to mass-produce the material which is used in everything from bicycles and tennis rackets to satellites and fighter planes.

The CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation – says its scientists, working with Victoria’s Deakin University, have produced the fibre.

Carbon fibre combines high rigidity, tensile strength and chemical resistance with low weight, and is used in everything from aviation and defence to space and car manufacturing.

Until now Australia has been frozen out of this market. Carbon fibre has been made only by a handful of manufacturers around the world, each of whom hold their own secret, patented recipes, the CSIRO says.

“Cracking the carbon code will allow industry to manufacture this incredibly strong and lightweight material for the first time from scratch, using Australia’s own top-secret recipe,” CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall said yesterday.

The CSIRO says its first attempt has created car-quality carbon fibre, But, said research director John Tsanaktsidis: “We now expect to improve on that result and produce aerospace-standard carbon fibre.”