Revolutionizing mountain safety with non-conductive composite chains, researchers aim to replace traditional steel, fostering innovation in engineering, maritime transport, and mining.
In a groundbreaking initiative, scientists are developing composite chains made of modified plastic to replace traditional steel ones on mountain trails. Dr. Krzysztof Ostrowski from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Cracow University of Technology leads a team funded by the NCBR. Their project aims to create a composite chain that doesn’t conduct electrical charges, addressing a critical safety issue during thunderstorms. Traditional steel chains, while robust for load-bearing purposes, can pose risks during lightning storms, as tragically evidenced in the Tatra Mountains in 2019.
The interdisciplinary team plans to not only enhance safety on hiking trails but also revolutionize engineering, maritime transport, and mining. The proposed composite, incorporating recycled materials, could potentially replace steel elements in various applications. The Tatra National Park has expressed interest in piloting these chains for improved tourist safety. Dr. Ostrowski emphasizes the need for extensive research, industry collaboration, and certification before implementing this innovative solution.
This endeavor reflects a commitment to both safety in mountain tourism and broader applications, signaling a paradigm shift in materials used for critical infrastructure.