MAGIC: Biobased sound and vibration reducing materials for railway systems

Environmentally friendly resins for elastic rail fastening systems. This was the topic of the MAGIC project. At the time of the research, these resins were often based on isocyanates. During processing, these require special attention in relation to industrial safety. The new resins, which are developed from biomass, cure into an elastic rubber-like plastic within a limited time.

The main objective of this project was to use oleochemical building blocks to develop improved two-component elastomer formulations for rail fastening systems. The effects of molecular structure, catalysts, and other reaction conditions on the functioning and performance of the elastomers was researched and compared to the current polyurethane systems.

The tangible end product of the project is a prototype of the rail fastening system, made of the biobased two-component resin.
Project leader Rolf Blaauw, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

Rail fastening system prototype

The researchers considered different chemical compositions. One of the researched resin systems proved to combine a short curing time with good basic characteristics. The material is less moisture sensitive than the existing isocyanate resins. Additionally, the new product adheres to specific mechanical material requirements such as rigidity, yield strength, and elasticity, and it bonds well to rails and concrete after pre-treatment with a primer. In principle, the biomass-based polymers are suitable for application as elastic sound and vibration reducing materials. The tangible result of the project is a prototype of a technically and ecologically improved rail fastening system.

BPM was partly financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (via Top Sector Chemistry).