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The new European railway standard DIN EN 45545-2 regulates the fire prevention regulations in the trans-European high-speed traffic.
The new European railway standard DIN EN 45545-2 regulates the fire prevention regulations in the trans-European high-speed traffic.
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Lorenz Kunststofftechnik GmbH has developed new thermosetting plastics, BMC 0204 and SMC 0208, that comply with the new European railway standard DIN EN 45545-2, which addresses the fire behavior of the materials and components used.

The new DIN EN 45545-2 shall now regulate and standardize the fire protection requirements on an European level so that the interoperability in the trans-European high-speed traffic as well as the safety of rail passengers is being guaranteed.

Common causes of fire in trains are intentional or negligent arson as well as malfunctions of the electric system. The possibility to exit railway vehicles in the case of fire as safely as possible is a decisive factor of safety.

"Other requirements apply in railway vehicles than in buildings, other plastics have to be used," explained Thomas Lorenz, Managing Director of Lorenz Kunststofftechnik GmbH. "These fire protection standards pose difficulties for manufacturers of material and components."

The thermosets BMC 0204 and SMC 0208 have been designed to the broad range of new requirements in rail vehicle construction with regard to their mechanical properties and flame retardant behavior and as one of the first passed the fire protection test in conformity with CEN/TS 45545-2.

In the focus of the new material test procedures are – next to the flammability and flame dispersion – in particular, the inspection of the development of smoke gas, the density of smoke and the toxicity of the smoke.

According to Lorenz Kunststofftechnik, thermoplastics, the most commonly used material in rail vehicle construction, will not fulfill the high standards in all areas due to their poor mechanic and thermic properties.

To calculate the Hazard Level (HL), on which the requirements of the classification system are oriented, the operating and construction categories in conformity with DIN EN 45545-2 are being used. Currently, the requirements are being assigned in 26 tiers (R1-R26).

Depending on the range of application of the material or parts within a construction, the form and the arrangement of the material as well as the directly exposed area various fire protection tests and results are required. The company said surfaces made of SMC, for example, have been approved for the highest HL tier (HL3).

SMC is available as semi-finished product in rolls and is used where high mechanical strength and stiffness is required, such as the exterior and interior cladding, window frames, seats and hubcaps.

Meanwhile, BMC is especially suitable for the production of small parts, for example, light switches or electrical plug connections as it can be manufactured by the processes of compression molding, injection molding, transfer molding and injection compression molding. Due to its CTI values of 600 volts and a thermal conductivity of 1.35W/mK it can also be used for electronic components.

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