Monday, December 15, 2014

A Foamy Train Sandwich

Wired had a story last week about a new product for use in high speed rail transit that can make that mode of transportation more competitive without sacrificing safety in the process.  It's sort of a aluminum foam sandwich, and it's pretty darn cool:
Engineers in Chemitz, Germany unveiled a prototype high-speed train cab made with the stuff earlier this year. The composite material is built like a sandwich: Between two pieces of aluminum, each just two millimeters thick, is a 25-millimeter-thick layer of the “foam,” actually a low-density, sponge-like composite of magnesium, silicon, and copper, and aluminum. And like a good sandwich, there’s no glue. The layers are held together by metallic bonding, the electrostatic attraction of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions.
The result is a material that’s 20 percent lighter than traditional fiberglass, which is commonly used on high-speed train cabs. That’s a big advantage when the goal is to move faster and more efficiently. Even better, it doesn’t come at the cost of a weaker train.
Click here to read more and to see photos of this really interesting new product. [ht:]