Gateway for:

Member Countries

Thermoplastic Semi-Sleepers


Development of Energy and Resource Saving the Engineering Procedure of Production Thermo-Plastic-Composite Semi-Sleepers

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-OTH/Other/Environment
  • CHE-POL/Polymer Chemistry/Chemistry

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Joint Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research - Sosny, Belarus, Minsk, Sosny

Supporting institutes

  • Transport Municipal Affiliated Undertaking "Minsk Metro", Belarus, Minsk\nBelorussian State Technological University, Belarus, Minsk


  • Academy for Building Culture, Germany, Langen\nPolitechnika Bialostocka, Poland, Bialystok

Project summary

Purpose: to develop energy and resource saving technology to manufacture semi-sleepers using secondary materials.

Target setting. Despite the whole system of polymeric materials useful service properties the rise in production volumes puts a number of serious problems connected with formation and accumulation of a fair amount of obsolete wastes and products. This threatens the ecology since polymeric wastes, which belong to danger class IV, decompose only in 40-50 years. Utilization of polymeric wastes is carried out in the following directions [Moore St. Mod. Plast. Int. 1999. V. 29, N 5, P. 38-39;]: burning, burying, recycling, introduction into microorganism polymers favoring to their destruction, application to obtain composite materials. The latter seems the most promising.

Naturally, polymeric wastes utilization is very much attended: it solves not only ecological tasks but is economically sound. Thus, for example, wastes processing uses 10% of the energy required to produce the same number of raw material but the cost of plastic from household rubbish is 30-50% lower.

Mineral fertilizers production also poses a threat to the environment. It is expedient to apply both secondary polymers and mineral fertilizers wastes to obtain multipurpose composite materials [], including semi-sleepers manufacturing.

Conventionally wooden sleepers are used as sub rail substrate. They have some drawbacks: softness, inflammability and short service life. Deforestation to make sleepers and antiseptics to soak them can cause ecological trouble. At the same time concrete sleepers are noisy, have high electric conductivity and increased vibration.

Over the last decade the interest in manufacturing and application of plastcomposite materials sleepers has risen dramatically. However, the high cost of primary materials they restrict their manufacture. The technologies of composite sleepers on the basis of secondary raw materials are either in state of development or are expensive and unavailable for most manufacturers []

In view of the above-said, the development of widely available energy and resource saving, ecologically friendly and economically profitable technology of semi-sleepers production based on polymeric chemical industries and natural raw materials suggested in this paper is topical.

Influence on the progress. The suggested technology will provide:

1. ecology improvement owing to:
  • utilization of polymers and mineral fertilizers chemical manufacturing wastes,
  • deforestation reduction.,
  • redaction of sleeper soaking industries.
2. prolongation of service life, improvement of underground railways service characteristics.

Project team. Weapon scientists and engineers of Joint Institute of Energy and Nuclear Researches – Sosny (JIENR-Sosny) having experience in weapon activity in the field of missile technologies and nuclear weapons, development of materials, manufacturing methods in production of chemical weapons components, will develop the technology to create composite material and to make sleepers from it, will make calculation and design documentation on semi-sleeper including experimental technological equipment.

Weapon scientists and engineers of Belarusian State Technological University (BSTU) having weapon activity experience in the field of development of technology of chemical weapons production and its impact on organisms as well as in the field of polymers, well develop composite material formulas programs and methodologies of testing of material laboratory compositions, material bench tests and semi-sleepers pilot samples.

Transport Municipal Affiliated Undertaking “Minsk Metro” (MUE “Minsk Metro”) specialists will manufacture pilot samples and pilot batch of semi-sleepers (on the basis of Baranovichy reinforced concrete constructions center), will lay semi-sleepers and make full-scale tests.

Expected results. When solving 4 project tasks the following results are expected:

  • technology to obtain thermoplastic composite material to manufacture semi-sleepers;
  • optimal formula of thermoplastic composite material on the basis of wastes of polymeric, chemical industries and secondary polymers; the results of research of physical and mechanical characteristics;
  • design documentation on semi-sleeper and experimental equipment;
  • pilot batch of thermoplastic composite semi-sleepers; its testing results.

The scheduled applied research will result in the development of energy and resource saving economically profitable technology of thermoplastic composite material to obtain semi-sleepers and is directed on solution the problem of utilization of secondary polymers and chemical fertilizers wastes.

Significance of results. The technology under development directed on solution of ecological problems of thermoplastic and wastes of mineral fertilizers production wastes is novel and thus patent-able (patenting of the material under creation and technology of its obtaining in progress). This conditions on commercial significance of declared project. Implementation of this technology into industry will enable to save considerable sums of money (millions of dollars) and the investor will have the right on production on preferential terms.

Range of application. Secondary materials thermoplastics composite semi-sleepers, manufacture under the developed technology, can be used in metros and other underground railways.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives. The project meets ISTC goals and objectives since:

  • enables weapon scientists and engineers to re-orient their activities on civil activity directed on the development of industrial and domestic wastes utilization technology to obtain commodity output, i.e. solution of ecological problems and the problems of energy and resource saving,
  • encourages integration of project participants into international scientific community attending international seminars and conferences devoted to environmental problems and polymers chemistry,
  • devoted to applied researches and technology development in peaceful purposes,
  • contributes to the solution of technical problems – nature protection by safety utilization of polymers and chemical wastes,
  • supports the transition of project participants to market economy by using the suggested technology containing “know how” in the industry of interested countries.

Scope of Activities. Project duration is 27 months, total project effort makes 4124 person*days. The scope of activities includes the performance of 4 successive tasks on applied research to be actualized by the specialists of:
  • leading institution – JIENR-Sosny – thermoplastic composite material technology development, design documentation, recommendations on technology application in industry;
  • participant institution 1 – BSTU – thermoplastic composite material composition development, development and adaptation of methodologies and programs to test the of tests thermoplastic composite material properties and semi-sleepers;
  • participant institution 2 – MUE: Minsk Metro” – pilot sample and semi-sleepers pilot batch manufacturing, their laying and control of full-scale tests.

Role of Foreign Collaborator. Within the range of the suggested project the cooperation with Academy for Building Culture (Germany) and Bialystok Technical University (Poland) is supposed. Project collaborators, professor Peter Pininski and professor Michal Boltryk suggested the following support of the current project:
  • information interchange and obtained results discussion;
  • making comments to reports;
  • combined symposiums and workshops.

Technical approach and methodologies. The developers of the project has examined and optimized the conditions to obtain a number of composite materials using industrial wastes, various mineral substances and secondary polyethylene as a binding agent to make high-quality commodity output. Test results give grounds to assume the development of thermoplastic composite material and underground semi-sleepers from it promising.

Cheap and widespread mineral filling materials, fertilizers production chemical wastes, secondary reactive layers are supposed to be used as a compounding for composite material development, and obsolete thermoplastic articles as a binding agents. Compounding optimization is supposed to be in accordance with the value filling material/compounding agent, sorts and composition of stabilizing additives increasing semi-sleepers service life. After determining the quality of thermoplastic composite and semi-sleepers the methodologies and strength test programs (bending and composition), abradability, density, frost resistance, water resistance, impact resistance, electro conductivity, cracking resistance, durability will be carried out. In-situ tests are final and the most significant. Minsk Metro is supposed to be a testing area for laying a pilot batch of semi-sleepers in the length of that of a train. The development of programs and methodologies to make accelerated bench and in-situ tests is due to be carried out in accordance with the requirements of Belarusian, CIS and international Standards. Resting upon the results of scheduled researches recommendations on practical use of the developed technology to manufacture composite material and semi-sleepers proposed to be used undergrounds and metros.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view