Biobased alternative for sound and vibration-reducing materials in railway systems

Published on
April 16, 2016

The Dutch companies edilon)(sedra and Croda are working with Wageningen Food & Biobased Research on the development of environmentally-friendly resins for elastic rail fastening systems. These polymers are currently often based on isocyanates, which require special attention to occupational safety when being used.

The goal of the project, which has been titled ‘MAGIC’ (based on the Dutch translation of ‘environmentally-friendly alternatives for hazardous isocyanate-based components’), is to develop new resins from biomass which cure into an elastic rubber-like compound within a limited time. These biomass-based polymers can be applied as elastic sound and vibration-reducing materials and the scientists are studying various chemical compounds. The final material should be less moisture-sensitive in processing and have a short curing time. In addition it must meet specific mechanical material requirements and adhere well to rails and concrete.

Sustainability analysis

According to project leader Rolf Blaauw from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, a sustainability analysis is part of the project: “We are looking to determine the environmentally-friendliness of the new material. The tangible end product of the project is a prototype of the rail fastening system made with the biobased two-component resin.”

BPM R&D programme and symposium

The project is part of the large-scale research programme Biobased Performance Materials (BPM). On Thursday 16 June the fifth annual BPM symposium is organised to address current biobased performance materials research developments – including presentations from ADM, Sabic, Sulzer and Croda.

The goal of the BPM programme is to develop high-quality materials based on biomass; materials that are increasingly applied in practice. The research focuses on two types of polymer materials: polymers produced by plants and polymers from biobased building blocks produced via biotechnology or chemical catalysis. The BPM programme is partly financed by the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs via the Top Sector Chemistry.