Recycled Carbon Fibre Composite Bogie
A new prototype bogie made from recycled carbon fibre composite is 36 per cent lighter than the steel equivalent – a weight saving of 590kg. The bogie is equipped with fibre optic sensors to measure strain and temperature in real time, detecting and monitoring damage and providing lifetime structural health monitoring.
The bogie frame and attached fittings are based on an existing Class 180 multiple unit, so all the equipment and running gear will be interchangeable. It will be fully compliant with the railway standards, including resistance to fire.
Benefits of the carbon fibre bogie include:
- reduction of track wear and infrastructure maintenance costs, due to reduced vertical and transverse loads on the rails
- improved reliability and operational availability, due to the embedded health-monitoring system
- reduction in energy consumption and carbon footprint.
This use of carbon fibre composites could be a forerunner to other commercial applications of the material in the railway industry.
The project consortium is led by ELG Carbon Fibre, with Magma Structures carrying out the composite design and manufacture. The University of Birmingham has contributed the incorporation of fibre optic strain monitoring. Full-scale tests are taking place at the University of Huddersfield on the HAROLD (Huddersfield Adhesion & Rolling Contact Laboratory Dynamics) test rig.
Discussions are underway about manufacturing the bogies for operational use. For more details about the project or to get involved in the next phase, contact Camille Seurat, Product Development Engineer, ELG Carbon Fibre.
"The Rail Performance Model [developed for the original Data Sandbox initiative] currently represents our best opportunity to model the spread of reactionary delay in a way that balances modelling cost and accuracy to our satisfaction. By getting a good handle on reactionary delays the potential improvements to punctuality are huge – for GWR and the national rail network."
Performance Analysis Manager, Great Western Railway