Honeycomb panels were developed using basalt fiber, polypropylene and bio-resins specifically for the application in railway carriages. Such material type can be used in the interior design of both passenger cars and other types of transport.
The honeycomb panels are distinguished by lightweight, high rigidity, better acoustic and thermal insulation characteristics than conventional monolithic fiberglass sheets. Basalt fiber honeycomb panels also feature higher fire resistance and sustainability.
Belgium-based EconCore and Basaltex joined their innovative efforts to develop the technology. Basalt fiber covers the outer layer, the honeycomb core is made of rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) and bio-resin produced from sugar cane is used as a binder.
Consequently, they obtained an eco-friendly, sustainable product with significant potential to be used in various industries, especially those with high fire safety requirements.
The production process which is based on thermosetting polymerization with a short cure cycle is ready to be automated and use in the industry. As planned, the novel material will be used for railway cars for which it was designated and tested, but the developers hope other industries will be interested in the technology as well.
For example, the USA-located Mafic USA and The Materials Group are promoting basalt fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites to the automotive market, also focusing on sustainability and cost-efficiency.