Composite materials for cheaper and more efficient trains

25/07/2021

London Underground's District Line trains launched the first production trains fitted with lightweight aluminium composite honeycomb doors in 1978. Several decades after this first step, what are the advantages of using composite materials today?

 

Need for weight reduction in rail vehicles

Increasing passenger demands, including universal access toilets, CET tanks, power outlets, air conditioning, tables, tipping mechanisms, improved crash structures and crumple zones, are making trains increasingly heavy. Body, external doors, bogies, couplers, driver's cab, interior linings, doors and all passenger interiors are key areas for weight reduction using composites

 

 

Current options for weight savings in rail vehicles

Composite seats, composite doors using fibrous composites, backrests, ceiling panels, cab fronts and body ends, body side panels, and floors with increased functionality, including floor covering, heating, thermal/acoustic insulation, and easier cleaning options, are areas where the use of the latest generation of composite materials can provide further cost-effective weight reduction in rail vehicles.

 

Innovative materials: aluminium honeycombs

Lightweight aluminium honeycomb materials are lightweight alternatives to conventional materials such as plywood. Lower renovation costs, longevity, particularly in wet areas, and increased load per square metre for a given support distance are key advantages for this type of application.
Aluminium honeycomb structures are a lightweight substitute for conventional materials, including metal fabrication, plywood and aluminium casting, particularly for use in exterior and interior doors. Less inertia during operation, less wear on the operating mechanism due to light weight, and minimal environmental impact are the key advantages of aluminium honeycomb structures.
Aluminium honeycomb can replace plywood and metal structures in lounge partitions and screens. Easier installation due to its light weight factor, recyclable at the end of its life, less prone to moisture alteration, better fire performance, and more space available for passengers due to its reduced thickness are the advantages of aluminium honeycomb.
The refinement of materials, and the use of advanced technologies to produce them, is increasingly crucial in all fields of transport and Gesa Industry, in the field of train interiors, is proud to contribute to this race towards the future.

 

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