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Side Impact Test and Analyses of a DOT-111 (CPC-1232) Tank Car

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Hazardous Materials
Impact test, DOT-111 tank car, tank car performance, transportation safety, toxic by inhalation, TIH, finite element analysis, FEA, finite element, FE, hazardous materials, rolling stock

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) conducted a side impact test on a DOT-111 tank car at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) to evaluate its performance under dynamic impact conditions, and to provide data for the verification and refinement of a computational model. The tankcar was filled with water to approximately 95 percent of its volume and sealed, but not pressurized. The tank car was impacted at 13.9 mph by a297,150-pound ram car with 12-inch by 12-inch ram head fitted to the ram car. The impact caused significant deformation of the tank and resulted in the failure of the tank wall under the right edge of the ram head. The crack that formed under the edge of the ram head continued to propagate vertically above and below the ram leading to a tear running from the bottom to the top of the reference grid painted on the side of the tank (about 8 ft.). The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) performed pre-test finite element (FE) modeling to estimate the overall response of the tank to the impact. This pre-test models gave results in good agreement with the test results. Researchers updated the post-test FE models to include the actual material behavior and to better represent the test setup. The post-test FE results were in even better agreement with the test results than the pre-test estimates. The modeling and testing performed in this program demonstrate the ability of the fluid response of an impacted tank car to dominate the general force-displacement response, underscoring the importance of modeling the fluid-structure interactions with appropriate techniques. The intention of the test data is to be used to better understand the shell impact performance of the new specification DOT-111 tank car. The validated FE model can be used to examine additional impact scenarios beyond the tested scenario.

Last updated: Friday, October 16, 2020