Technical Reports

Evaluation of the Thermal Effectiveness of Urethane Foam and Fiberglass as Insulation Systems for Tank Cars

  • 01
  • Jul
  • 1987
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-30
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-87/11
SUBJECT: Hazardous Materials
KEYWORDS: Thermal systems; urethane foam; fiberglass; safety; chlorine; railroad tank cars; fire tests
ABSTRACT: A total of 39 thermal fire tests were conducted using the torch fire facility for the Federal Railroad Administration. These tests were performed in accordance with the procedures presented in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 179, 105-4. The insulation tested were urethane foam and fiberglass. Urethane foam is installed on a number of railroad tank cars which are used to transport chlorine. Fiberglass constitutes the insulation system on a number of tank cars which are used to transport other materials. In this test series, it was found that urethane foam can hold the tank car shell below 493 degrees F in the environments which may exist in railroad accidents. This test criteria is a more stringent requirement than previously imposed for the insulation system of the chlorine tank car. The fiberglass performed much better than anticipated when a means was provided to hold it in place in the test fixture during the tests. It was recommended that the test specimen holder be redesigned and tests performed on fiberglass to determine if the modification is satisfactory and to verify that fiberglass has the ability to hold the back plate temperature below 800 degrees F.

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