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GFRP Energy Absorber

Energy absorbers serve to transform the crash energy generated during an impact and thus allow the best possible protection for both passengers and rolling stock. The light-weight energy absorber designed by Voith Turbo Scharfenberg can constitute one part of a solution meeting the current European standards EN 15227 and EN 12663.

It is characterised by a low total weight and a constant energy absorption behaviour. This results in a high energy absorption capacity and a remarkable energy to weight ratio. Furthermore, the use of aluminium and glasfibre-reinforced plastics reduces keeps corrosion at a minimum.


A total weight of approx. 90 kg (depending on the design layout) makes the GFRP absorbers a light-weight solution compared with standard steel absorbers. Further benefits are their constant energy absorption behaviour and a high weight-specific energy absorption capacity.


The lightweight energy absorber consists of a fibre composite tube functioning as crash element. Its rear end is integrated into a bearing featuring the mounting flange to the vehicle. It also serves as nozzle and as guiding element.
The front end of the absorber holds an anti-climber plate which, in case of a collision, prevents the vehicles from climbing.

For reasons of weight reduction, the bearing and the anti-climber plate are made from aluminium.
Should it be impossible to mount the absorber on the vehicle via the bearing, an adapter plate may be fitted, bridging the distance between the flange and the mounting interface of the vehicle. This also allows a refurbishment of vehicles which are already in operation.


In the event of a collision, the fibre composite tube is pressed through the nozzle at the rear end. This induces a controlled collapse of the laminate.
The laminate defibrates on its way through the bearing, loosing all its strength and structure.

The mayority of the material, however, remains attached to the absorber. The risk of formation of dangerous projectiles is thus minimised, and the material can be easily deflected downwards (figure 2), reducing the required space between flange and deflection plate to 300 mm only.

An activation of the crash tube is shown by indicators on either side of the tube.


The GFRP absorber is designed such that the fibre composite crash element - in its defined force range - can be perfectly adapted to the customer‘s requirements. Variations in the layer thickness of the laminate allow multiple force levels to be integrated.

Up to an offset of 80 mm, the energy absorbers remain fully functioning.