Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Germany and their “Sandwich” project.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Germany have recently developed an extremely durable polyurethane-based sandwich material. It will be used to replace steel or aluminum in train or automobile components, and with advanced materials for lightweight trains, it will be able to be lighter but equally resistant.
To test the material, the ICT produced a train component subject to significant stresses, the housing of a diesel engine. The housing is located between the car and the tracks. It protects the engine from debris, shields the environment from oil leaks, and in case of fire, prevents the spread of flames In fact, the housing meets fireproofing and fire safety standards for railway vehicles.
Sandwich system, lightweight trains
Advanced Materials for Lightweight Trains: 35% Weight Reduction, 30% Cost Reduction, and Increased Stability Thanks to Sandwich Constructio
The use of new advanced materials for lightweight trains has reduced the weight of the shell by over 35% and lowers costs by 30% due to reduced fuel consumption. The sandwich construction increases the stability of the components, the outer coverings are layers of polyurethane reinforced with fiberglass, and the core is made up of a honeycomb paper structure. The researchers have incorporated additives into the polyurethane to meet fire safety standards. They have also improved the fiber production process by developing a mixing chamber that allows for the production of complex structures in almost any dimension. The diesel engine housing, for example, is about 4.5 x 2 meters in size.
The materials used on trains have fundamental importance in the railway industry. In fact, they must be resistant, lightweight, and durable at the same time, in order to ensure the safety and reliability of trains. In addition, they must be able to withstand significant mechanical and thermal stresses, as well as vibrations and impacts.
In the past, it was impossible to accurately determine the thickness of the upper layers of polyurethane. Currently, researchers are using computed tomography to inspect the produced layers and ensure the correct thickness. If future tests are conclusive, it will be possible to use this material to produce roof segments, side panels, and wind deflectors for trains, as well as for the production of ramps.
Advanced materials in the construction of lightweight trains: steel, aluminum, and titanium.
Advanced materials commonly used in the construction of lightweight trains include steel, aluminum, and titanium. Steel is the most common material used in trains, especially for bogies, wheels, and frame structures It is appreciated for its strength, durability, and ability to absorb shocks. However, it is still quite heavy, which can create issues in terms of energy consumption and speed
Aluminum is another widely used material in the railway industry, especially for the body parts of the train carriage It is lighter than steel, which allows for the overall weight of the train to be reduced and therefore reduces energy consumption. It is also corrosion-resistant, which makes it an ideal material for outdoor use.
Gesa Industry and its research on materials and technology
The sophistication of materials and the use of advanced technologies to produce them are increasingly fundamental in all fields of transportation, and Gesa Industry, in the context of train interiors, is proud to contribute to this race towards the future.