Fibre-reinforced composite materials in modular rail wagon structures

LICO researched the use of fibre-reinforced composite materials in modular rail wagon structures in a project of SmartRail. The target construction was a roof structure. We formed the work package schedule and contents in collaboration with Tampere University and VTT to benefit the computational skills these research institutions have. Due to the covid pandemic, the timing finally was not the most optimum for collaboration, but it was possible to progress with the project using various digital tools. The work done in the project resulted in deeper knowledge about strength of materials and structures to LICO. Moreover, the output is not seen an advantage in the designing of railway products but also in the design of other application areas, such as marine constructions and various other shell structures. The new information and the research time used for the project accumulated the skills and knowhow especially with regards of making new products. LICO did not participate the digitalization projects later within the ecosystem but is eager to look forward in participating the network.

Arto Pitkämö


The research group of Plastics and Elastomer Technology, Tampere University, participated the SmartRail Ecosystem for research of advanced composites. Our research group constructed a detailed research plan with LICO Oy and formulated it to be a tight collaboration. The spearhead of the research was to analyse challenging structural details, such as load-carrying joints in modular connections, and to automatize and parametrize the conceptual finite element -based design of composite structures. The case part, a modular roof structure, was an interesting and practical application target. Our researchers studied glass, carbon, and natural fibres as reinforcements in composite materials and analysed the selection of composites in terms of various design criteria. For a joint with mechanical fasteners, it was found that flax-fibre reinforced composites behave differently to carbon-fibre reinforced composites when numerical prediction were applied to compute strength. The predictions indicated that the effect of friction in the joint is less when flax fibres are used in a shear force-loaded joint. The results of studies have been published, for example, in the ECCM20 conference during 2022:

Mikko Kanerva
Plastics and Elastomer Technology
Tampere University