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Side Impact Test and Analyses of a Legacy DOT-113 Tank Car

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Hazardous Materials
Impact test; DOT-113 tank car; tank car performance; transportation safety; cryogenic liquids; finite element analysis; FEA

On November 19, 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) contracted Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) to conduct a side impact test of the DOT-113C120W (DOT-113) cryogenic tank car to evaluate the performance of the tank car and to provide data for the verification and refinement of a computational model. The tank car was filled to approximately 82.4 percent of its volume with water. It was then sealed and pressurized to approximately 50 pound-force per square inch (psig). Pre-test modeling had estimated a puncture range of between 16 and 18 mph. Based on these results, the target test speed was 16.5 mph ±0.5 mph. The tank car was impacted by a 296,975-pound ram car traveling at 16.7 mph. A 12-inch by 12-inch ram head fitted to the ram car impacted the tank shell. The impact resulted in the puncture of both the outer and inner shells of the tank car. The residual kinetic energy after puncture drove the ram far enough into the tank car that it lodged in the tank car, indicating that 16.7 mph exceeded the speed necessary to just result in the puncture of both tanks. Pre-test finite element (FE) modeling was used to estimate the overall response of the tank to the impact, including the force-displacement response. The post-test model was updated to include the actual material behavior. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) made several adjustments to the post-test models to investigate the effects of material failure models for the inner tank, strain-rate sensitivity of the inner tank’s material, and the influence of the perlite insulation between the inner and outer tanks.

Last updated: Monday, September 20, 2021