Ken Kozicki from BISCO® Silicones recently authored an article for Railway Technology International about the design considerations that go into creating comfortable railcar seat cushions.  How important are first impressions for seating when a passenger steps into the railcar? Obviously, if it’s the Orient Express or another high end rail system, the feeling of luxury must be present.  But even for standard commuter railcars, seat cushions do make an impression.  Ken notes:

“…the most prevalent and obvious fixture within any interior, rendering, brochure, or maze of booth exhibits is the seat or array of seats. The type of seat will vary from the most outrageously luxurious – slated for a VIP very high speed Oriental Express pod – to the simplest and ergonomic that allows for rows and rows of passengers in a configuration that would be suitable for the rush hour of London, Shanghai or San Paulo….What has taken teams of engineers and designers months, if not years, to conceptualise, design, prototype, test (and re-test), will be given a judgment in less than ten seconds. So from that, one could wonder just how important is the first impression of a railcar seat?”

In this article, Ken look at the design considerations that need to be factored in when choosing the right seat cushion for a railcar:  Ken highlights the following:

  • the number of seating positions per coach (as required by the transit authority)
  • materials’ standards for flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST)
  • type of train service (urban metro system versus suburban commuter), and
  • severity of usage.

Ken also discusses the new concerns of sustainability and end-of-life:

“This is being driven by questions related to the disposal of the seat: “What will become of a worn, damaged, or obsolete seat?” Will it be thrown into a land-fill? What are the decomposition ramifications of that seat in a land-fill?”

All good questions.  But what about the seat itself and the cushioning material? Are some better than others?  Ken suggests yes, there are differences between one cushioning material from another:

“…cushions have differences in profile, appearance and texture, it is not obvious that there are different types of materials used to fabricate the cushions. These materials are usually in the form of foam, such as a filled-polyurethane, silicone, and melamine. The foam which is specified for the fabrication of the cushion will have been tested to the various FST standards, ensuring the safety of the passengers. In addition, some of the foam materials may have been cycletested to simulate wear and usage, which brings us back to our earlier statement of first impressions. Often, seat cushion foam materials are tested and certified to a characteristic known as indention force deflection (IFD).”

2-D & 3-D view of thin profile seat with loaded urethane

“A typical IFD test method will be comprised of a disk of a determined diameter that compresses the foam material a certain percentage of its thickness, and then measures the amount of “pushback” force the foam has. This is its indention force deflection, and is directly related to the comfort of the seat. In production, the foam will be certified according to this test. If it is within the IFD tolerance range, the foam will be qualified for seat cushion fabrication.”

Of course, Ken highlights that the bigger test happens after many months of wear on the cushion, after the “pushback” force has been worn down.  Different materials, like silicone foam, do a better job over the life of a cushion than other materials.

To read Ken’s final recommendations, either view the article here (in a magazine viewer) or download a full PDF of the printed article.

Related Links

BISCO Material Selection Guide

Floating Floor Design Tool

Silicone Material Selection Guide

On December 2, 2010, in BISCO Silicones, by sharilee

Selecting materials for gasketing and sealing means taking a close look at critical specs, such as temperature, flammability, toxicity, vibration isolation, and sound damping. To make the process easier, the Silicone Material Selection Guide walks you through the options, helping you pick the right materials for your application.

Fire, heat, tearing, elasticity, EMI/RFI shielding – there are a lot of issues to consider. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), for example, need materials for environmental seals, vibration pads, antenna seals, battery cell cushions, and more. The goal is a design that performs at its peak over an extended period of time. This requires materials that keep harsh environmental elements out and provide low compression set and long term stress relaxation.

For mass transit applications, foam cushioning is one of the largest single combustible components. As a result, strict regulations are in place to ensure cushions meet flame spread, smoke density, and hazardous emissions standards.

Whether your design calls for resistance to temperature extremes, low flammability, or high tear strength, start your search with the Silicon Material Selection Guide. The Guide features BISCO Silicones — cellular, solid, and specialty materials that can be fabricated into gaskets, heat shields, fire stops, seals, cushions, and insulation for a wide variety of applications.

In the News

Rogers Corporation’s New PORON® ShockSeal™ Foam takes the Pain out of Dropped Handheld Devices

PORON® World’s Greatest Foam

Rogers Corp Reports 2010 Third Quarter Results

On November 24, 2010, in Corporate, by sharilee

The latest financials are in for Q3 2010. Record results were seen in the divisions based on high demand  for printed circuit materials for wireless infrastructure, high performance foams in mobile devices, power distribution for mass transit and wind systems, and more.

Read the Rogers Corp. 2010 Third Quarter Report

Download the Rogers Corp. Third Quarter Conference Call

Don’t miss this great interview from DesignCon with our very own John Coonrod.  In this brief video, John talks about the latest advances with high frequency laminates…

Some of the reasons why high frequency laminates work so well are:

  • Have higher dielectric constant, which makes for smaller wavelengths
  • Can make microwave features smaller, or even miniaturize the size, giving a faster signal over a smaller area
  • Build in multi-layers

Listen in on what else John is saying about high frequency laminates…

If you are having problems viewing this video, click here.

Today’s environmental challenges mean we all need to get serious about doing what it takes to enable clean energy for a greener planet. This takes many forms when it comes to making the materials that give our world its shape. For instance, power distribution systems can  make wind and solar energy technologies more reliable and efficient. Cushioning products can provide critical vibration protection for batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.

View comments from the 12th Annual Clean Energy Economy Forum

Rogers Corp. is committed to clean energy. Our researchers spend many man-hours developing materials and components that help save energy by providing innovative power distribution and thermal management in hybrid electric vehicles for variable frequency motor drives. As demand grows, we will continue to make sustainable energy more practical, more cost effective, and more reliable.

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In the News

Key MegaTrends Fueling Growth

Rogers Teams New RO4460™ Prepreg With RO4360™ Laminate For Matched 6.15-Dk Multilayer System Solution

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