A graphene arch made from graphene-reinforced polymer is one of the UK’s first 3D-printed commercial products. The arch is being trialled for 6 months by the rail network.

“Aecom has produced a graphene arch using additive manufacturing techniques. It believes the method could reduce the time and cost of installing digital signalling systems and transform the digitisation of transport networks.
 
The company’s CNCTArch is designed to drive down the costs associated with installing digital signalling systems on transport networks. Using a graphene arch that sits over rail tracks eliminates the need to attach new digital equipment to existing infrastructure.
 
Graphene is famously super-light and super-strong. The 4.5-metre high, lightweight arch is being tested on outdoor track at Network Rail’s workforce development centre in Bristol.
 
Aecom employees came up with the concept of CNCTArch in response to its transport clients’ challenges around the cost and time of digitising the signalling systems on their networks.
 
The company looked at replacing the traditional bolt and screws method of deploying digital systems in tunnels, which takes four shifts to install, by developing an arch on which the digital technology is attached, that doesn’t bolt to any existing infrastructure and takes only one shift to install.
 
Aecom is working with Network Rail’s Western region team and its Bristol Parkway signalling training school to test the arch. Sensors have been installed to monitor how the arch performs in different weather conditions, measuring oscillation and deflection. The six-month trial is the next step towards commercialising the product.
 
Aecom has partnered with UK engineering firm Scaled to develop the detailed design and prototypes of the CNCTArch using large-scale 3D-printing techniques. Scaled uses its 3D printer, one of the largest in Europe, to print the product in the new graphene-reinforced polymer, which is supplied by Aecom’s materials partner Versarien. A UK-based advanced engineering materials group, Versarien has developed and manufactures the graphene material for CNCTArch.”

 
Read the full article Aecom makes breakthrough with 3D-printed graphene arch

Source: The Construction Index

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