Wooden sleepers are used in underground mines for supporting roofs, which are replaced every 2-3 months due to chronic deterioration caused by high moisture content.

The wooden cogs are carried by employees under tough and hazardous conditions.

Development of Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) Sleepers :

Sleepers made of GFRP are designed and developed in-house by TATA Steel (New Materials Business & Product Application Research Group) as an alternative to existing wooden sleepers. An analytical and numerical approach was adopted and detailed FE analysis performed to optimise and evaluate the performance.  Further validation is carried out using part testing and full-scale prototyping.

The design is suitably chosen as a hollow section to achieve weight reduction and ensure unrestricted airflow.

Potential Benefit:

  • Achieving more than two years of service life with sleepers made of GFRP
  • Reducing labour and maintenance cost equivalent to 24 man-hours for customers every 2-3 months
  • Replacement of wood is environment friendly and has a positive impact on lowering the carbon footprint