German engineers recently presented a prototype of a high -speed train wagon made of composite material – aluminum foam. This material is a kind of metal sandwich: two two -millimeter aluminum plates are clamped between 25 millimeters of “foam” from magnesium, silicon, copper and aluminum. They are connected not by glue, but by a metal connection, an electrostatic attraction of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions.
The resulting material is 20% easier than the traditional fiberglass, which is usually used for the construction of wagons in high -speed trains. And this means extremely a lot for the construction of trains, as it gives an advantage in speed and efficiency when moving. But the weakness of the train itself is not given by the new aluminum foam. The outer shell remains so rigid that no ribs are needed inside.
Aluminum foam has high impact resistance, especially against small impacts that the train encounters on the way – stones, bottles, birds, etc.P. For example, in 2013, a traditional high-speed train bound for Beijing was forced to stop due to a bird strike that caused cracks in the material. Aluminum foam train project engineer says their material is ready for it and won’t suffer from such troubles.
The material is also comfortable for passengers, because it retains heat inside. In addition, inside the construction of this material is quite safe even in a collision. Scientists conducted a series of crash tests and confirmed that the material effectively absorbs energy and protects passengers from secondary impact. Even the aluminum foam seat backs prevent head injury in collisions by 80%.
Aluminum foam was invented in 1968, but then the problem was to create it on an industrial scale. The formation of the material cost quite expensive. Current engineers have proved that the material can be made by a budgetary way. So, now the question remains only to use this good material.