DIAB Divinycell P high-speed train

China's 'New Generation' high-speed trains use Divinycell H and P

The first of China’s ‘New Generation’ high-speed trains will make extensive use of Divinycell lightweight/high-strength sandwich composites for interior components such as doors, ceilings, floors and partition walls. Divinycell foam cores have been chosen instead of the honeycomb cores used on the previous generation of Chinese high-speed trains, because they simplify the manufacturing process and provide higher ‘in-service’ performance.

Divinycell-cored train components are easier to machine and finish than equivalent honeycomb panels. Unlike honeycomb, Divinycell presents a smooth surface finish that usually does not require filling or sanding, and which provides a larger bonding area. Nor is there any need for ‘edge close-out’ operations.

A versatile alternative
Divinycell cores can be used both in conjunction with GRP skins to produce train components, as well as with wood or aluminium skins. In addition to being lighter than previous honeycomb panels, the Divinycell components offer higher peel strength, increased stiffness and better impact properties. Other benefits of Divinycell sandwich composites for train interiors include low water absorption, excellent thermal and acoustic insulation and a fatigue life that more than meets the train’s 30-year service life.

In this application, Divinycell-based sandwich components are being used for interior components, but they can also be used for exterior components such as train fronts and roofs.

Close collaboration
Diab is working closely with the train builder, supplying not only core materials but also a range of technical services including finite element modelling, material testing and process support.

The first trains will enter service in 2012 on the 1,318-kilometer (819 mile) high-speed link between Beijing and Shanghai. This RMB160 billion (USD23.4 billion) project will see trains reach speeds of up to 380 kph (236 mph), effectively cutting the journey time between China’s two largest cities to just five hours. With the new line China expects to double the current annual train capacity of 160 million passengers between Beijing and Shanghai.

China’s rollout of its high-speed rail network started in 2007. By 2012, it is expected that a total of 42 high-speed rail lines will have been built, with a total track length of 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles).

Louise Eriksson Jacka
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