Carbon Fibre Pack Frame

Location: Coburg North, VIC

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date:  April 2019

Project Background

SORD Australia are leaders in designing and developing soldier combat equipment (SCE).  Over the last 40 years, the way a soldier carries their equipment has continuously evolved. A requirement of this continual evolution is continually reducing the weight of the carriage equipment to allow the soldier to carry more operational equipment. To date, there has been little change in the design of the field pack. As the soldier’s combat load increases, due to greater technical requirements, so has the weight. This project will develop a new modular soldier combat field pack with a lightweight multi-use pack frame that reduces the strain on the soldier. The research and development aspects include:

  • Research biomechanical requirements of a scalable pack frame.
  • Work with SORD on the specific operational design requirements for pack frame design.
  • Model and research the minimum weights requirements for the frame structure using carbon fibre
  • Design and model a manufacturable carbon fibre frame design for minimum weight and cost
  • Work with a SORD partner to build a carbon fibre prototype of the intern’s frame design

SORD requires a PhD student which has a background in developing light weight structural carbon fibre components and who potentially has some knowledge of human body movement.

Research to be Conducted

The intern will be required to research the biomechanical shape required of the frame design along with the carbon fibre structural requirements for a durable operational pack frame. The ultimate goal is to create the highest strength-to-weight ratio pack frame for the weight carrying requirements available, using the SORD specified carbon fibre manufacturer.

SORD Australia currently has a Development Facility located in Coburg North Victoria. The intern will have access to SORD staff who are former Special Operations and Infantry soldiers. They will also have access to IT support, design programs and manufacturing facilities.

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:


  • Knowledge of Structural Engineering
  • Experience in Carbon Fibre Parts Component Design


  • Knowledge of Human Movement Biomechanical Modelling

Expected Outcomes

At the end of the internship, the intern will have designed and prototyped a minimum-weight-and-cost competitive soldier field pack frame. The design must be manufacturable for a carbon fibre frame of minimum weight. The physical prototype will be made with SORD’s  manufacturing partners. The intern will be required to work with the manufacturing supplier for the production of the prototype. The core research outcomes will be biomechanical shape with a minimum-weight-and-cost manufacturable design.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

27 March 2019


INT – 0573