Wageningen, The Netherlands - Wageningen UR Food & Bio-based Research is working to develop new rail fastening systems based on resins derived from biomass which can be readily cured into elastic rubber-like compounds.
The biopolymers would offer an alternative to currently used materials based on isocyanates, which can present occupational safety when being used.
Wageningen UR is working with Dutch companies edilon)(sedra and Croda in the project called ‘MAGIC’ - based on the Dutch translation of ‘environmentally-friendly alternatives for hazardous isocyanate-based components’.
According to a Wageningen UR release, the researchers are studying a range of biomass-based compounds that can be applied as elastic sound and vibration-reducing materials.
“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,” it .said. The statement, issued 26 April, did not give details of any of the chemistries involved.
“We are looking to determine the environmentally-friendliness of the new material,” said Said project leader Rolf Blaauw from Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. “The tangible end product of the project is a prototype of the rail fastening system made with the biobased two-component resin.”
The project is part of the large-scale research programme Biobased Performance Materials (BPM).
On 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 BPM programme aims 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 government of Economic Affairs via the Top Sector Chemistry.