Technical Reports

Locomotive Crashworthiness Research: Modeling, Simulation and Validation

  • 01
  • Jul
  • 2001
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration; Stephen Kokkins; Wayne Kong; Kash Katuri
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-01/23
SUBJECT: Safety Advisories, Safety Regulatory Analysis, Safety Performance Measures
KEYWORDS: Locomotive, Crashworthiness, Analysis, Simulation, Safety dynamic
ABSTRACT: A technique was developed to realistically simulate the dynamic, nonlinear structural behavior of moving rail vehicles and objects struck during a collision. A new approach considered the interdependence of the many vehicles connected in typical rail consists. This was accomplished by combining the dynamic modeling of the consist as a whole with "embedded" detailed models of the lead locomotive and the objects with which it collides, including standing car consists and ISO-type shipping containers. This method used the LS-DYNA program which simulated the three-dimensional effects of non-linear, elastoplastic material behavior plus the effects of large deflections, buckling, energy absorption, and fracture. It was possible to generate and visualize the collision process and view the most significant locomotive structural deformations, movements, and decelerations. These insights into the structural performance and interactions of the various areas of the locomotive, including the cab and interior areas, relate directly to crew survivability in collisions. Several types of locomotive design improvements were also assessed with this method. Validation studies using a historical accident were also successfully performed. This system can be run on personal desktop computers, increasing access to the method by workers in the railroad community.

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