To make high-speed trains lighter and faster, Chinese scientists and engineers have designed train components made of carbon fiber composite material, which has been used in rockets.
China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) has used the material to make the skirt plates of the trains. Skirt plates are large structures that reduce drag and protect the trains' internal equipment.
According to Gu Chunhui from CALT, skirt plates made of the composite material make the trains lighter and faster. Besides, the material is non-toxic and flame-retardant.
Currently most of the skirt plates are made of metal. Although they can meet performance requirements, they are heavy and not conducive to speed.
Only a few countries manufacture the material, which has been widely used in Long March rockets, Gu said.
Skirt plates made of the material are expected to be produced in small quantities by the end of 2018, and the material will be applied to more components thereafter, according to CALT.
The maximum speed of China's bullet trains rose to 350 kph, when Fuxing (Rejuvenation) bullet trains started operation between Beijing and Shanghai on Sept. 21, 2017. China is developing bullet trains with speeds up to 400 kph.