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New Aluminum Train Hopper Car is Stronger and Lighter

© by RM Rail

RM Rail, a manufacturer of freight rolling stock headquartered in Moscow, Russia, has begun assembling an aluminum alloy hopper model called the 19-1299. The car will be designed to carry a variety of goods, including mineral fertilizers, and can also be designed specifically for grain and other bulk cargos. The design provides for the use of an innovative 25 ft axle load bogie.

Unlike the previous generation model, this hopper car has half a ton lower tare weight and 70 tons of increased carrying capacity. This was achieved through the use of a new aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy brand 1581, which was launched last year by Rusal.

In November, developers from the Rusala Institute of Light Materials and Technologies noted that alloy 1581 belongs to thermally unstrengthened aluminum alloys and has a high level of strength, while maintaining ductility and corrosion resistance at the level of alloys such as AMg5 and 5083. At the same time, in comparison with the traditionally used alloy 5083, the new material has a higher yield strength and fatigue life and is only 10% more expensive.

Alloy 1581 is a proprietary design of the national material scientists, which was inspired by space. It was during the exploration of outer space in Russia that scandium-containing aluminum alloys were first used. The alloy features high strength and weldability. These properties ensured creation of a strong and lightweight structure using modern friction stir welding technology. That said, due to optimal scandium content, the cost of semi-finished products does not differ much from that of conventional aluminum alloy products.

New Russian Standard for Rolling Stock Bodies

Rosstandart, the Russian federal agency for technical regulation and metrology, approved a new international standard for aluminum railcars that will come into effect on April 1, 2022 in Russia. The document contains requirements for the design, manufacture, repair, and quality control of joints of welded parts of freight car bodies, including tank cars, multi-unit rolling stock made of aluminum and aluminum alloys. The new standard is expected to bring significant cost savings to manufacturers of aluminum alloy rolling stock bodies.

The new GOST (Russian state standard) defines welding technologies and provides acceptable restrictions, as well as examples of defects and ways to correct them. With regard to the safety of aluminum railcars, the document contains determinations of the endurance limits of welded joints made of aluminum alloys at different stress amplitudes acting on the structures of the railcar bodies.

The draft standard, the idea of ​​which was proposed by Rusal, was developed by experts from research institutes and the Russian Aluminum Association.

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