Testing and development achieve rigidity and safety milestone for new composite of basalt fibres for rail carriage interiors

Basaltex, pioneers in innovative uses of basalt fibres, has achieved a significant
milestone in developing and testing a new composite material solution comprising
fibres of basalt combined with EconCore’s patented honeycomb technology.

This new material development has greatly improved fire resistance and is highly
rigid , as well as the usual honeycomb properties of light-weighting.
The company has tested the composite of basalt fibres, a bio resin and rPET
honeycomb.

Filaments of only stone fibres are extruded at a temperature of 14500C, similar to
glass but with a number of advantages, not least the absence of boric acid in the
process.

Combining this ecological fibre with EconCore’s sustainable technology using rPET,
and the bioresin polyfurfuryl alcohol – 100% derived from a waste stream of sugar
cane – make this a very sustainable and environmentally friendly product, unlike the
majority of thermoset solutions in this type of application.

Railway applications require materials with enhanced fire resistance and the testing
has shown that the EconCore-Basaltex solution fits these needs well, at the same
time offering the perspective of drastic weight reduction against traditional monolithic
GRPs used rather widely in train interiors.

Such sandwich panel could be deployed in applications such as cladding panels,
partitions, tables and flooring. The thermoset skin layers give a fast cure at elevated
temperature, meaning short cycle time and enabling automated production’.

As well as the railway interior application, this new material combination could be
used in any application that requires fire performance combined with a low weight.

Wouter Verbouwe, Basaltex’s R&D manager, commented: “To have completed the
testing of this new composite of basalt fibre is a major milestone. We have designed
it specifically for rail carriages and are now introducing it to the industry.”

Jef Delbroek, Project Engineer at EconCore added: “Honeycomb and stone? Some
combinations don’t automatically come to mind, but this material solution could
enable converters to combine fire safety, light-weighting and sustainability in an
elegant way. We look forward to seeing how the railway industry will respond to this
novel material combination and hope to arouse interest of other industries as well.”

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