Minister for Defence Marise Payne congratulated Zenka Mathys from DST Group’s maritime division for her outstanding scientific achievement in developing fire protection systems that have contributed significantly to the survivability of Navy platforms.
"Ms Mathys’ innovative research has not only made Navy platforms more resilient to fire damage, it can save the lives of Defence personnel who serve on these vessels," Minister Payne said.
"Her research has also significantly increased cost savings due to reduced fire risk and the reduced cost involved in returning the platform to service after a fire incident.
"Ms Mathys is an acknowledged world expert in the science of fire resistant materials and structural fire protection. She has developed new standards for the testing of material used in ship and submarine construction."
Mathy's research into the response of composite materials to damage and shock resulted in her designing new repair techniques for the minehunter coastal ships and led to changes in fire protection for the air warfare destroyers.
"Her expertise has also been applied to the acquisition of aircraft and land vehicles, resulting in better safety features and reduced costs for Defence," Minister Payne said.
Mathys’ role investigating the 2014 fires on board HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Waller led to the implementation of an integrated survivability research program, including the development of damage control equipment and enhanced personnel safety.
"Ms Mathys is a very deserving winner of this important defence science award," Minister Payne said.
The annual Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science recognises original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia’s defence effectiveness and efficiency.