MicroTau is an advanced materials and manufacturing business specialising in the production of drag-reducing ‘riblet’ microstructured surfaces for aviation and maritime applications. The drag-reducing effect of riblets allows for increased fuel efficiency of aircraft, which we project will enable the commercial aviation industry to save US$20 billion worth of fuel and prevent 92 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. The product can also enable increases in range, endurance, and payload capacity; a capability that we predict will increase in importance given the gradual transition to electric aircraft. MicroTau uses a proprietary method of manufacturing called Direct Contactless Microfabrication (DCM), which is similar to photolithography in that it involves exposing a UV-curable material to micropatterned light. The exposed material hardens and the uncured material is washed away. The primary benefits of DCM are that it allows for customisable riblet designs, little to no retooling costs (where other fabrication methods require tens of thousands for retooling), and is highly scalable and fast. DCM can also print direct-to-surface, although this is not our current focus. Presently, we are working on the development and commercialisation of a riblet film product, wherein riblets are fabricated onto an aviation film substrate with an adhesive backing which can then be applied to the wings and fuselage of an aircraft. We have worked with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, PPG, Lufthansa Technik, the Australian Defence Force, and the US Air Force Research Laboratory to develop this product.

Targeted industries


Key interests

Textured industrial components (gears, seals, gaskets, pistons, shafts, propellers…), Functional films (packaging and electronics), Tribological coatings/surfaces

Upscaling facilities

Testing facilities


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