EU develops new composite materials for future rail transit
Recently, the Spanish Plastics Technology Center Aimplas participated in the completion of the EU MAT4RAIL project aimed at developing new materials and new components for future rail transit. The goals of the project include weight reduction through the replacement of metal by composite materials, and improved passenger capacity and passenger comfort through intelligent module interior design. The project started in 2017 and was completed by the Spanish applied research organization Cidetec.
In the project, Aimplas was mainly responsible for the development of new mixed resin formulations to improve the flame propagation resistance of fiber reinforced composites. The research results are encouraging, and the new formula can also be used in the fields of construction, automotive and aviation.
In addition, in order to replace metal parts, the project team evaluated the performance of the new material on the structural parts. In order to further clarify the relevant regulations on the fatigue performance of rail vehicles, the project participating units have jointly carried out a lot of work. The content involves standardized design and calculation by sensors. At the same time, in order to improve the use efficiency of different materials such as composite materials and metals, the research team also studied the connection technology between materials.
The project also includes the use of new technologies and communication methods to improve the cabins and seats of future cars in order to improve the safety of the vehicle, monitor unknown objects on the track, and improve the communication status inside the vehicle. At the same time, because the multifunctional panel can be connected to a variety of devices, the modular compartment can also have different configurations.
In addition, the new seat design will also provide more passengers with a more comfortable riding experience, while also providing more seating options.
It is expected that after the project is implemented, the comprehensive performance of rail transit infrastructure will be significantly improved in terms of cost, operation, reliability, punctuality, passenger capacity, energy efficiency, and reduction of life-cycle operation and maintenance costs.
The MAT4RAIL project brings together 16 institutions, companies and universities from seven European countries, including the Aimplas Centre. This project is funded by the EU's Shift2 Rail Joint Undertaking project, a public-private partnership established under the EU's Horizon 2020 Framework Project, investing nearly 1 billion euros in rail technology in 2014-2020 Research and innovation to increase the passenger and freight capacity of European railways.