Researchers at the Belarusian Transport University have created a new material for rails, named Monicu. According to Professor Leonid Sosnovsky, who is one of the inventors, the parameters of the new material place it between cast iron and steel. The name Monicu is a combination of the first letters of the three chemical elements — molybdenum, nickel, and cuprum. These materials are used as additives to cast iron to make the final product as durable as steel in addition to providing high performance parameters.
Scientists believe that Monicu rails can be twice as cheap. Casting is a simpler and less expensive technology in comparison with steel rolling. Electricity costs alone can be halved by switching to the new technique. Four experimental rails have been manufactured and used as part of regular railways for 16 months to get them through all seasons of the year. Consequent examination revealed that the service durability of the new rails is roughly similar with the steel ones. The Belarusian invention was recently analyzed during a meeting of chief engineers of the railway administrations of the Eurasian Economic Union member states in Gomel. Preparations for a Belarusian-Russian high-level meeting are afoot. The two parties plan to start series production.
The potential of the rail market of the Union State of Belarus and Russia is estimated at 1 million tonnes per year.