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Fire-resistant Fibre Reinforced Polymers for weight reduction and modular interior design for the railway of the future

AIMPLAS takes part in the European project MAT4RAIL, ‘Designing the railway of the future: fire resistant composite materials and smart modular design’, which aims to reduce the weight of railways by replacing metallic structural components by lightened elements in composite materials, as well as the increase of the vehicle’s capacity and the passenger comfort by means of the smart modular design of interior spaces.

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With the implementation of this project, it is expected to improve the railway infrastructure regarding costs, functioning and reliance, as well as timeliness, increase of the capacity and energy efficiency, as well as the reduction of costs of the life cycle. For that purpose, innovative materials and a modular design for railway rolling stock are going to be developed. A weight reduction of trains is going to be performed by replacing metal parts by Fibre-Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) with certified mechanical and fire performance. Moreover, new developments for increasing railway’s capacity and passenger’s comfort will also be developed by the modular design of railway interior parts.

The project, which started in October 2017, has already achieved the development of new epoxy-resin formulations with improved flame-retardant properties to be applied in Fibre-Reinforced Polymers. Mat4Rail will last for two years and is coordinated by CIDETEC (Spain). Other 15 research institutes, SME, large companies and one university from seven European countries take part: INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO DE ARAGÓN and AIMPLAS-INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO DEL PLÁSTICO (Spain); UNIVERSITAET BREMEN, IMA MATERIALFORSCHUNG UND ANWENDUNGSTECHNIK GMBH, NVGTR GBR and GRAMMER RAILWAY INTERIOR GMBH (Germany); CENTRE SCIENTIFIQUE & TECHNIQUE DE L’INDUSTRIE TEXTILE BELGE and COEXPAIR SA (Belgium); HUNTSMAN ADVANCED MATERIALS (SWITZERLAND) GMBH, ESCATEC SWITZERLAND AG and ACCELOPMENT AG (Switzerland); RISE RESEARCH INSTITUTES OF SWEDEN AB (Sweden); ASAS ALUMINYUM SANAYI VE TICARET ANONIM SIRKETI (Turkey); and SPIRIT DESIGN – INNOVATION AND BRAND GMBH and INDAT MODELLBAU WERKZEUGBAU FORMENBAU GMBH (Austria).

The project MAT4RAIL has received funds from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU), one of the public-private partnerships within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 777595.