Composites face tests in rail application

Composites face tests in rai application .

with growing demand for affordable and efficient public transport, rail companies are having to re-evaluate their position and hnd research into improved services. Jane Gilby visited Dortmunder Stadtwerke and Siemens Transportation Systems in Dortmund, Germany, as they unveiled a new GRI? centre section for a popular light rail vehicle.

As mass transit

systems

take off in Europe posites

are

of conventional

com-

finding

a

niche

thanks

ability

to reduce weight

In addition composite

Approximately

have tram

er than

cities now

or light

im-

tion for the B 80 vehicle.

fuel con-

100 European

steel,

consequently

proves the me1 consump-

to their

and therefore sumption.

and

to this the used is cheap-

other

materials

and large modular

rail

ponents,

com-

pre-assembled

networks,

51 of these in

in parallel processes

Germany

alone and the

purchased at competitive

market light

for

tram

rail vehicle

cars is currently

prices,

and

estimat-

crease

is forecast some

sit operators. The

to in-

3%

1997-2002

(Reinforced

Plastics,

Thcpre-painted B 80 GRP car body &t&pcd

subsidiary (GRP)

approximate cost of DM5 Siemens

Systems

DUEWAG

AG and its have recently

section for an LRV in collaborawith

Dortmunder ment

was

Dortmunder

regional

transport

Stadtwerke. funded

is

even in the

million, with

proven succz :s;sful in space and aeronau-

the aim of exploiting the renaissance in

tical

light rail and tram systems that is being

epoxy resin base have been prohibited

experienced

in

at the present time.

The GRP centre section was developed for Dortmunder’s

B 80 double

projects,

rail

account to

vehicles

composites up

with

until

now

of their flammability.

modification

of

the

an on

Thanks

materials

group

articulated LRV There are currently 54

Siemens

The develop-

B 80 vehicles in service, one of which

epoxy resin developed by Siemens com-

has been fitted with the GRP section.

plies with the pertinent

standards gov-

erning

properties

by

Stadtwerke

Nordrheinwestfalon

safety

event of a fire. Although

developed a new glass reinforced plastic tion

and

guaranteed

Sy Sienuns Tranrpomtion.

of the

car body shell

is high,

January 1998). German company Transportation

stability

composite

over

the period

further

cost savings for the tran-

(LRV)

ed at 500 units per year. This

produce

and

Siemens, and Land

(NRW),

ReinforcedPlasticsOctober 1998

at an

The

epoxy

based

composite

car

body weighs less than one constructed

has cleared that hurdle.

flame-retardant

The

and

smoke emissions and represents a com00343617/98/$19.00 01998 ElsevierScienceLtd.All rightsreserved.

Composites

face tests in rail application

petitive edge over other resins, the company claims. According Goedel,

manager

development resin

and

group at DUEWAG,

flame retardancy the

to Dr Michael

of the research

and

this

is an integral part of does

not

have

to be

applied to surfaces separately where it could be vulnerable to damage. Siemens

has been

implementation

looking

at the

of plastics in LRVs for

some time, in response to a variety of customer

requests and demands.

the composite’s

With

ability to reduce noise

having a positive effect both inside and outside the vehicle, the quieter running vehicle is likely to please passengers and pedestrians

alike. Another

the new LRV low vibration

of and

characteristics.

timized insulation tribute

feature

is the ride quality

Op-

and ventilation

con-

to a high level of comfort,

important

an

factor in making the vehicle

an attractive

alternative

to a private

motor car. The B80 LRV can travel at approximately

80 km/h.

The development

of the GRP

tion forms part of the Siemens’ for the year 2000

sec-

vision

and beyond.

Each

module of the support structure,

interi-

or lining and outer skin of the vehicle is formed

in one piece, comprising

four end modules,

the doors on the car body are formed of

of

GRP

two door modules

and eight window modules. The easiest way to produce this was to use a GRI’

ed into four slots which

sandwich

on the roof and on the underside of the

structure

for the car body.

The core of this is a polyvinyl chloride

modules

(PVC)

length of the vehicle.

free foam.

This

outer

faced with a GRI’ laminate. posite

laminates

means of vacuum guaranteeing

core is

The com-

are impregnated injection

the resin

by

moulding,

is free of air

flexibility

of the

car body

extend

instead

underframe,

in conventional

it is an entirely

as

designs;

composite

joint

that GRP

could

comes from the fact that is not manu-

not be used because the centre section

factured

has to be integrated

into an existing B

car. The dimensions

of the centre sec-

assembled

in a single

piece

from three different

ules. The articulation module

but rather

and

accommodate

the

mod-

module, window door

a joining

module section,

tion are 10 m x 3.6 m x 2.6 m.

all win-

Siemens, idea without

thorough

one car section -

able steps if necessary. Each module has

entire

the form of a ‘C’ consisting of the com-

endurance

plete side wall and half of the car roof

institute.

and half of the car floor. The modules

4.8

are joined

service life of 30 years.

developed

together bonded

form

the vehicle

GRP

hollow

with

a specially

seam geometry shell.

sections

to

Rectangular serve

as axial

braces. Four of these sections are bond-

vehicle

-

million

Aachen

to

by an independent

concluded

that

after

cycles the B 80 car has a

The testing and development car took

of the

to be subjected

testing This

testing, allowed

representative

place where

(FEA)

in determining

the potential

stress

base was calculated

78 kN + 52 kN (people 130

kN.

The

at being load) which

load was then

tested at 6.4 kN at 4.3 million

19 kN at 1 million

cycles,

cycles and finally

32 kN at 1 million cycles. “The centre section of the B car is the completion

of a major step towards

the

efficiency

public transportation,”

of urban

says Dr Michael

Blumenthal,

managing

rail division,

Siemens

director,

light

Transportation

Systems AG. “The next step will be to gain knowledge

from the performance

of this new technology

in routine oper-

ation. I’m sure that we shall be working with this plastic a lot more in the

of the

at the University the six-stage

analysis

stress loads of the car body. The static

increasing

keen not to deliver a new

dows and doors, the latter with move-

element

Static and dynamic testing were sig-

equals

It was only in the centre of

the articulation

finite

nificant

have a metal supporting is customary

and

phases.

the entire

As a result of this the body does not

structure.

pockets that might weaken the material. The

and which

are provided

of

project

included materials selection and design

future and therefore to

congratulate

Stadtwerke.

have every reason the

Dortmunder

Their decision truly marks

the beginning

of a new era.”

Reinforced Plastics October 1998