Technical Reports

Thermal Protection Study of Cryogenic Tank Cars

  • 01
  • May
  • 1985
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
SUBJECT: Hazardous Materials
KEYWORDS: Railroad Tank Cars; safety; cryogenic; thermal systems
ABSTRACT: This study was concerned with the thermal protection capability of insulation systems used on tank cars which are utilized in the transportation of hazardous materials at cryogenic temperatures. The heat sources in question are fires which the tank car may encounter if involved in a railroad accident. It was found that the most common insulation used is evacuated perlite powder. A number of thermal tests were conducted on perlite and several on a type of superinsulation. Two representative environments, described in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 179.400 (as of November 83), were simulated in the test series. The perlite was tested without an imposed vacuum and the temperature behind the test specimen did not exceed 157°c (314°F) as measured by thermocouples which were protected by perlite throughout the test. Due to a bulge formation in the panel as a consequence of the extreme heat, the perlite level dropped and exposed the top thermocouples which measured very high temperatures. The superinsulation failed in the most severe environment, but performed better in the other. Evacuation improved the results for both types of insulation. Recommendations are presented for a continuation of the work with the goal being to achieve more definitive results.
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