Trend study on smart materials and sustainable systems

Identification of innovative materials for various interior areas in long-distance trains

Client: Long-distance passenger transport company

The high-speed network has expanded enormously in recent years, with top speeds of up to 330 km/h, domestic flights have become obsolete for many routes. In the course of the further development and revision of long-distance trains, the use of so-called smart materials and sustainable materials should be examined in the project. A wide range of application scenarios are expected for the use of self-cleaning and odor-reducing surfaces, especially in hygiene areas and in on-board catering. In addition, materials based on renewable raw materials offer the possibility of visibly communicating the concept of sustainability to customers in the interior of trains. Smart applications with, for example, acoustically effective materials, sensory systems or automatic shading systems can offer additional added value.

As part of a material research, the development status and the availability of smart and sustainable materials for use in long-distance trains were recorded and possible applications in the various areas of the trains were developed. The project was divided into a cross-sector material scanning in a first phase and a focus analysis.

In the first phase of the project, a 360 degree approach was used to search for innovative materials, new technologies and research projects and to describe the application options in long-distance trains. The aim was to achieve the greatest possible variety of different solution approaches. Above all, the focus was on the identification of materials that have already been successfully used in other industries and mobility solutions. The results were structured and the possible use of the materials in the various interior areas of trains was presented. For the second phase of the project, 20 material and technology topics were selected and detailed information on possible application options was obtained in the focus analysis and the technological maturity in the context of certain scenarios in the train was recorded. The individual materials, solutions and systems were described in terms of their potential and their properties and functionality were documented. The results were presented in two workshops with the development team at the client’s premises.

image: Furniture made from antibacterial birch bark (source: Anastasiya Kocheeva)