Technical Reports

Engineering Studies on Structural Integrity of Railroad Tank Cars Under Accident Loading Conditions

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 2009
AUTHOR: D.Y. Jeong, Y.H. Tang, H. Yu, M.L. Lyons, J.E. Gordon, O. Orringer, and A.B. Perlman
SUBJECT: Hazardous Materials
KEYWORDS: Accidents, closing speed, finite element analysis, derailment dynamics, hazardous materials, impact loads
ABSTRACT: This report describes research conducted to support the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in addressing safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding a train derailment that occurred near Minot, North Dakota on January 18, 2002. Engineering studies entailing analysis and testing are described, which include (1) analysis of derailment dynamics based on lumped-parameter models, (2) analysis of the structural behavior of tank car components (such as the head and shell) based on finite element modeling, (3) tank car steels characterization based on laboratory testing of samples obtained from tank cars. Specific details of the research are described. Conclusions based on the research findings to date are outlined. The research began to provide FRA with technical support in responding to recommendations made by the NTSB following the Board’s investigation of the Minot accident. Research results are now being applied to support: (1) rulemaking proposed by FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials by tank cars and (2) an industry research-and-development effort, called the Next Generation Rail Tank Car Project that was formed to develop and implement new improved designs for tank cars carrying hazardous materials.