A. Coelho


3 Railway Composite Flooring Design: Numerical Simulation and Experimental Studies

Authors: O. Lopez, F. Pedro, A. Tadeu, J. Antonio, A. Coelho


The future of the railway industry lies in the innovation of lighter, more efficient and more sustainable trains. Weight optimizations in railway vehicles allow reducing power consumption and CO₂ emissions, increasing the efficiency of the engines and the maximum speed reached. Additionally, they reduce wear of wheels and rails, increase the space available for passengers, etc. Among the various systems that integrate railway interiors, the flooring system is one which has greater impact both on passenger safety and comfort, as well as on the weight of the interior systems. Due to the high weight saving potential, relative high mechanical resistance, good acoustic and thermal performance, ease of modular design, cost-effectiveness and long life, the use of new sustainable composite materials and panels provide the latest innovations for competitive solutions in the development of flooring systems. However, one of the main drawbacks of the flooring systems is their relatively poor resistance to point loads. Point loads in railway interiors can be caused by passengers or by components fixed to the flooring system, such as seats and restraint systems, handrails, etc. In this way, they can originate higher fatigue solicitations under service loads or zones with high stress concentrations under exceptional loads (higher longitudinal, transverse and vertical accelerations), thus reducing its useful life. Therefore, to verify all the mechanical and functional requirements of the flooring systems, many physical prototypes would be created during the design phase, with all of the high costs associated with it. Nowadays, the use of virtual prototyping methods by computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) softwares allow validating a product before committing to making physical test prototypes. The scope of this work was to current computer tools and integrate the processes of innovation, development, and manufacturing to reduce the time from design to finished product and optimise the development of the product for higher levels of performance and reliability. In this case, the mechanical response of several sandwich panels with different cores, polystyrene foams, and composite corks, were assessed, to optimise the weight and the mechanical performance of a flooring solution for railways. Sandwich panels with aluminum face sheets were tested to characterise its mechanical performance and determine the polystyrene foam and cork properties when used as inner cores. Then, a railway flooring solution was fully modelled (including the elastomer pads to provide the required vibration isolation from the car body) and perform structural simulations using FEM analysis to comply all the technical product specifications for the supply of a flooring system. Zones with high stress concentrations are studied and tested. The influence of vibration modes on the comfort level and stability is discussed. The information obtained with the computer tools was then completed with several mechanical tests performed on some solutions, and on specific components. The results of the numerical simulations and experimental campaign carried out are presented in this paper. This research work was performed as part of the POCI-01-0247-FEDER-003474 (coMMUTe) Project funded by Portugal 2020 through COMPETE 2020.

Keywords: Numerical Simulation, mechanical performance, railway flooring system, cork agglomerate core

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2 Experimental Characterisation of Composite Panels for Railway Flooring

Authors: F. Pedro, S. Dias, A. Tadeu, J. António, Ó. López, A. Coelho


Railway transportation is considered the most economical and sustainable way to travel. However, future mobility brings important challenges to railway operators. The main target is to develop solutions that stimulate sustainable mobility. The research and innovation goals for this domain are efficient solutions, ensuring an increased level of safety and reliability, improved resource efficiency, high availability of the means (train), and satisfied passengers with the travel comfort level. These requirements are in line with the European Strategic Agenda for the 2020 rail sector, promoted by the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC). All these aspects involve redesigning current equipment and, in particular, the interior of the carriages. Recent studies have shown that two of the most important requirements for passengers are reasonable ticket prices and comfortable interiors. Passengers tend to use their travel time to rest or to work, so train interiors and their systems need to incorporate features that meet these requirements. Among the various systems that integrate train interiors, the flooring system is one of the systems with the greatest impact on passenger safety and comfort. It is also one of the systems that takes more time to install on the train, and which contributes seriously to the weight (mass) of all interior systems. Additionally, it presents a strong impact on manufacturing costs. The design of railway floor, in the development phase, is usually made relying on a design software that allows to draw and calculate several solutions in a short period of time. After obtaining the best solution, considering the goals previously defined, experimental data is always necessary and required. This experimental phase has such great significance, that its outcome can provoke the revision of the designed solution. This paper presents the methodology and some of the results of an experimental characterisation of composite panels for railway application. The mechanical tests were made for unaged specimens and for specimens that suffered some type of aging, i.e. heat, cold and humidity cycles or freezing/thawing cycles. These conditionings aim to simulate not only the time effect, but also the impact of severe environmental conditions. Both full solutions and separated components/materials were tested. For the full solution, (panel) these were: four-point bending tests, tensile shear strength, tensile strength perpendicular to the plane, determination of the spreading of water, and impact tests. For individual characterisation of the components, more specifically for the covering, the following tests were made: determination of the tensile stress-strain properties, determination of flexibility, determination of tear strength, peel test, tensile shear strength test, adhesion resistance test and dimensional stability. The main conclusions were that experimental characterisation brings a huge contribution to understand the behaviour of the materials both individually and assembled. This knowledge contributes to the increase the quality and improvements of premium solutions. This research work was framed within the POCI-01-0247-FEDER-003474 (coMMUTe) Project funded by Portugal 2020 through the COMPETE 2020.

Keywords: Durability, Experimental Characterization, mechanical tests, railway flooring system

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1 Nutriscience Project: A Web-Based Intervention to Improve Nutritional Literacy among Families and Educators of Pre-School Children

Authors: R. Barros, J. Azevedo, P. Padrão, M. Gregório, I. Pádua, C. Almeida, C. Rodrigues, P. Fontes, A. Coelho


Recent evidence shows a positive association between nutritional literacy and healthy eating. Traditional nutrition education strategies for childhood obesity prevention have shown weak effect. The Nutriscience project aims to create and evaluate an innovative and multidisciplinary strategy for promoting effective and accessible nutritional information to children, their families, and educators. Nutriscience is a one-year prospective follow-up evaluation study including pre-school children (3-5 y), who attend national schools’ network (29). The project is structured around a web-based intervention, using an on-line interactive platform, and focus on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and reducing sugar and salt intake. The platform acts as a social network where educational materials, games, and nutritional challenges are proposed in a gamification approach that promotes family and community social ties. A nutrition Massive Online Open Course is developed for educators, and a national healthy culinary contest will be promoted on TV channel. A parental self-reported questionnaire assessing sociodemographic and nutritional literacy (knowledge, attitudes, skills) is administered (baseline and end of the intervention). We expect that results on nutritional literacy from the presented strategy intervention will give us important information about the best practices for health intervention with kindergarten families. This intervention program using a digital interactive platform could be an educational tool easily adapted and disseminated for childhood obesity prevention.

Keywords: Childhood Obesity, web-based intervention, educational tool, nutritional literacy

Procedia PDF Downloads 107