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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Voith introducing new energy absorbers for trains made of fiber composite plastics

July 22, 2014

Voith GFRP energy absorber: 60% weight reduction compared with standard steel absorbers. Click to enlarge.

Voith is introducing a lateral energy absorber made of glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) and aluminum. Compared with standard steel absorbers a weight reduction of 60% could be achieved. This new lightweight energy absorber is part of the mutable vehicle head concept Galea, but it can just as well be integrated into other front end systems.

The crash energy systems focus on vehicle safety and efficiency, as well as ecological benefits through a reduction of CO2 emissions. Their modular design allows short replacement times and an individual vehicle design.

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop preliminary design study

August 12, 2013

Linear accelerator concept for capsule acceleration and deceleration between 300 and 760 mph (480 and 1,220 km/h). Click to enlarge.

Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released the preliminary design study for what he calls “The Hyperloop”—a new high-speed electric transportation system targeted for the the specific case of high-traffic city pairs (e.g., San Francisco and Los Angeles) that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. (For longer distances, Musk suggests, quiet supersonic air travel would be faster and cheaper.)

Hyperloop—which is an open-source concept, user feedback is welcome—consists of paired partially-evacuated tubes (0.015 psi, 100 Pa), with passenger capsules (or pods) that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube. Stators are located on the capsules to transfer momentum to the capsules via the linear accelerators.

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IHS-CERA concludes “no material impact” on US GHG from Keystone XL; heavy crude from Venezuela most likely replacement

August 09, 2013

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline for transporting oilsands-derived crude to Gulf Coast refineries would have “no material impact” on US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new Insight report by IHS CERA. In a June speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama said that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would only be built if the project “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” (Earlier post.)

In the absence of the pipeline, alternate transportation routes would result in oilsands production growth being more or less unchanged, IHS CERA found. The study also found that any absence of oil sands on the US Gulf Coast would most likely be replaced by imports of heavy crude oil from Venezuela, which has the same carbon footprint as oilsands crude.

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DynoTRAIN could establish virtual testing as a valid route to rail vehicle certification

August 08, 2013

Multi-body simulation of bogies which could be used for virtual certification. Source: TrioTRAIN. Click to enlarge.

A four-year, €5.5-million (US$7.3-million) project that could enable manufacturers of rail vehicles to use virtual testing of trains in order to ensure safety standards throughout Europe while making huge savings on development costs is drawing to a close at the end of next month.

DynoTRAIN received €3.3 million in funding from the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. It is part of the TrioTRAIN cluster of projects which aims at further promoting interoperability by increasing virtual certification, thus contributing to the competitiveness of rail. Through the DynoTRAIN project, TrioTRAIN addresses rail vehicle dynamics—one of the most relevant issues for a rail vehicle certification.

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