Canadian Plastics

On the Right Track With New Composite Material

Canadian Plastics   



A versatile composite material that has been used for years in Asia as a substitute for wood has made its debut in Europe as sleepers for railway tracks. As part of a renovation project, the tracks on the Zollamt bridge in Vienna have been laid on...

A versatile composite material that has been used for years in Asia as a substitute for wood has made its debut in Europe as sleepers for railway tracks. As part of a renovation project, the tracks on the Zollamt bridge in Vienna have been laid on sleepers made from polyurethane. Eslon Neo Lumber FFU is a dimensionally stable composite material made from Baydur 60 polyurethane reinforced with long glass fibres produced by a subsidiary of Bayer MaterialScience AG.

Eslon Neo Lumber FFU (FFU stands for fiber reinforced foamed urethane) is produced by Sekisui Company of Japan using pultrusion.

The Eslon Neo Lumber sleepers can be screwed together, nailed or sawed using conventional woodworking tools. Other positive features are a low linear coefficient of thermal expansion and low thermal conductivity values. Due to the closed cell structure of the light polyurethane-glass fibre compound they absorb only a minimal amount of water.

The material’s good resistance to hydrolysis, greases and oils is another quality which makes the “polyurethane wood” a very durable material, even when exposed to long-term weathering.

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Common applications for the composite material are pools for fish farming, silos, walkways, soil anchors (as a substitute for concrete) and railway sleepers. The tracks for the Japanese high-speed train Shinkansen, for example, are laid on polyurethane sleepers.

Bayer Inc. 800-668-2554

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