Rail Industry Focus

30.08.16

Advanced Composites Materials Taking the Heat in Rail Applications

Alex Filsell from Scott Bader Company Limited explains how the firm’s advanced composites materials are being widely used in the rail industry.

Scott Bader is a multi-national specialty chemicals group with annual sales of $287m, employing over 650 people worldwide. The group manufactures specialty resins, gelcoats and structural adhesives for the composites industry, as well as a wide range of specialty products, using water-based and solvent borne polymer technologies. Scott Bader’s headquarters and UK plant is located in Northamptonshire, England, along with the main R&D and technical service centre.

Outside of the UK, Scott Bader has manufacturing operations, along with local research and technical service facilities in France, Croatia, The Middle East, and South Africa. New operations have been added in the last four years after successful joint ventures in India, Saudi Arabia and Brazil and the acquisition of ATC Formulated Polymers to strengthen Scott Bader’s position in the USA and Canada. The group also has sales and distribution operations in Ireland, Scandinavia, North America, and Eastern Europe, and a global network of distributors and licensees, serving over 90 countries worldwide. 

In more recent years, Scott Bader’s R&D team has focused on developing higher performance advanced composite resins and gelcoats which can meet the demanding mechanical and fire performance test standards for applications in the passenger rail industry, for rolling stock, buildings and infrastructure both above and below ground. It has also developed new structural adhesives for automotive and mass transport applications. Scott Bader now has an extensive range of 10:1 and 1:1 ratio Crestabond primer-less methacrylate structural adhesives for bonding metals, composites and plastics.     

Advanced Fire Performance

Scott Bader has developed and supplied fire retardant (FR) thermoset resins and gelcoats for composites applications in the rail industry for over 35 years. Using its latest advanced performance fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) laminate matched systems, both glass and carbon fibre reinforced composite parts can be cost effectively fabricated that pass stringent fire, smoke and toxicity (FST) standards for a wide variety of  composite rail and infrastructure applications.

Advanced FST performance gelcoated FRP parts can be manufactured from an ATH filled Crestapol acrylic thermoset resin grade with one of the Crystic fire retardant (FR) gelcoat grades available. Scott Bader has developed a range of Crestapol resins for hand lay-up, vacuum infusion closed moulding, pultrusion and filament winding, as well as new ‘halogen free’ advanced Crystic FR gelcoats for both interior and exterior applications, which offer both UV weathering and FST performance.

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Test results from Exova Warringtonfire gave a level HL2 pass rating to the new EN 45545 standard for a gelcoated GRP laminate test piece fabricated from Crystic Fireguard 70PA gelcoat ATH-filled Crestapol 1212 resin.

Latest EN 45545 Fire Rating   

Test pieces for rolling stock and infrastructure applications were submitted by Scott Bader for independent fire performance testing to Exova Warringtonfire laboratories in the UK, which specialises in providing fire testing and certification services. Exova test results gave a level HL2 pass rating to the EN 45545 standard for the glass fibre laminate matched system comprising of Crystic Fireguard 70PA gelcoat and ATH-filled Crestapol 1212 resin, glass fibre matt reinforced.  

Prior to the EN 45545 HL2 regulation, Crestapol based FRP rail parts met various International FST rail approvals for station buildings, rolling stock and underground trains including: DIN 5510 S4/SR2/ST2; French Epiradeateur NFP 92-501-M1 and NFF 16-101-F0;  and the Spanish M1/F0 fire resistance test for interior rail applications.

Intumescent FR Topcoats 

For certain interior mass transport parts needing a fire spread delay barrier, such as electrical enclosures, floor sections and roof panels, Scott Bader’s Crystic Fireguard 75PA ‘Excel’ topcoat is added to the internal side of an FRP laminate. This intumescent FR topcoat can withstand a direct flame at a temperature of 700 deg. C (1292 deg. F) for over 60 minutes without the laminate catching fire; when used behind Crestapol 1212, the laminate system passes BS 476 Part 7 Class 1, Part 6, Class 0, M1 F1.

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Three Crestapol 1212 RTM composite parts were used by Cedar Composites to construct the VIP chairs installed in high speed trains now operating in China. 

Global Rail Applications

Over the last eight years, Scott Bader has significantly expanded its global customer base, which includes international train manufacturing companies such as Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier. New rail, vehicle and infrastructure applications using different grades of Crestabond primer-less structural adhesives and Crestapol resins have been developed in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America and key Asian markets, particularly in China.

Several leading Chinese FRP rail parts manufacturers, having independently tested and approved Crestapol 1212 high performance resin, now specify its use for a variety of closed mould FRP parts for rolling stock applications. Country Business Co. Ltd., based in South China, previously used a phenolic resin, but now supplies rail carriage interior parts produced by Light RTM (resin transfer moulding) using filled Crestapol 1212; moving to an acrylic resin has delivered shop floor health and safety benefits and increased productivity, while meeting all the mechanical and fire performance specifications.

A recent successful project was for luxury VIP chairs designed for the high-speed trains now operating across China. The complex chair construction, manufactured by Ceder Composites in Shanghai, comprises three FRP sections and uses several mould insert blocks. Each FRP part is produced by RTM using 100phr ATH (ON904) filled Crestapol 1212 and meets the DIN 5510-S4/SR2/ST2 FR standard.

Scott Bader will be exhibiting at InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin (Hall 8.2 / stand 318)

For more information about the Scott Bader Group of companies worldwide and details about the complete range of products and services offered globally for composites applications, go to www.scottbader.com.

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About Scott Bader 

Scott Bader was established in 1921. Today it is a $287m global chemical company, employing over 650 people worldwide. It is a common trusteeship company, having no external shareholders, with a strong commitment to supporting its customers, workforce and the environment. 

Scott Bader’s headquarters is based in the UK where it has purpose-built, state-of-the-art technical facilities that provide R & D as well as complete evaluation, testing and application support. It has manufacturing facilities in Europe, The Middle East, India, South Africa, Canada and South America.  

For further information regarding Scott Bader, please call +44 (0)1933 666638, visit www.scottbader.com, or e-mail:  enquiries@scottbader.com.

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