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Industrial research of natural-fibre biocomposites with flame-retardant properties for the rail sector

Project partners
1 technology centre and 4 companies


Development of non-structural inner train parts made out of from thermosetting resins and reinforcements from renewable sources (hemp, flax) as an alternative to glass fibres. In order to reduce the fire limitations of natural fibres, the use of nanotechnology to maximise the structures’ flame retardancy was studied.


The project focused on the manufacturing of driver centre consoles, though the aim in the future is to expand the application of these biomaterials to other parts, such as the cabin-compartment partition wall, connecting passenger compartment doors and the cupboards and coatings used on the roof and windows. Biomaterials have a number of advantages that traditional materials do not have, since they come from renewable sources, they are abundant and inexpensive, they are lightweight and also have good mechanical, thermal and acoustic insulating properties, their manufacturing cost is lower and contaminating emissions are reduced during their manufacture.

The project involved designing and developing the parts, and at a later research stage, the new materials were evaluated to ensure they complied with the properties required, thus guaranteeing better properties than currently used plastics. This included checks on how parts reacted to sunlight and cleaning products.


Automotive and Transport
Climate change
Sustainable mobility
Advanced materials
Sustainable materials