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The rail vehicle bogies made from recycled carbon fibre

These solutions in testing could lead to major savings for operators, with a 50 per cent reduction in weight

Rail vehicle bogies made from recycled carbon fibre could lead to major savings for operators, with a 50 per cent reduction in weight meaning a huge reduction in track wear and energy and maintenance costs. Now, a research team at the University of Huddersfield will carry out exhaustive tests to ensure that the concept can fulfil its potential.

The University is home to the Institute of Railway Research (IRR). It has joined a consortium that includes ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd, which has developed cost-effective means of recovering carbon fibres from manufacturing waste and end-of-life components, and Alstom Transport, a rolling stock vehicle manufacturer and maintainer and the Sensors and Composites Group, University of Birmingham. The consortium chose Magma Structures as their preferred manufacturer. Magma has produced carbon composite masts for some of the world’s largest superyachts and specialised carbon pipes for the highly-regulated offshore industry.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) launched a vehicle dynamics competition, and the optimised lightweight carbon fibre bogie frame project was a winner, so that £1.25m of funding was made available to design and manufacture a prototype bogie for a rail passenger vehicle. The University of Huddersfield’s IRR helped with its specification and it will be constructed by Magma using recycled carbon fibres from ELG.

It will then be tested by the IRR in the first half of 2019, using its sector-leading facility named HAROLD (Huddersfield Adhesion and Rolling contact Laboratory Dynamics rig). The process will take several months and will include a fatigue test consisting of a million simulated load cycles.

The optimised lightweight carbon fibre bogie frame project has been named winner of the rail category in JEC 2018 Composites Awards in Paris.

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