Collision dynamics modeling of crash energy management passenger rail equipment : a thesis submitted by Karina M. Jacobsen
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Collision dynamics modeling of crash energy management passenger rail equipment : a thesis submitted by Karina M. Jacobsen

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    • Alternative Title:
      Collision dynamics modeling of crash energy management passenger rail equipment
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    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-RAIL TRANSPORTATION-Rail Safety ; NTL-RAIL TRANSPORTATION-RAIL TRANSPORTATION ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Rail Safety ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Accidents ;
    • Abstract:
      Crash Energy Management (CEM) is a crashworthiness strategy that incorporates crush zones into the design of passenger railcars. In the event of a collision, crush zones are engineered to collapse in a controlled manner and distribute crush to unoccupied areas throughout a train. This approach manages dissipation of the collision energy more effectively and efficiently than conventional railcar designs. A train-to-train collision scenario is the basis for evaluation of crashworthiness in passenger railcars. This thesis uses a three-dimensional model of a CEM passenger train to simulate train collisions. The model is evolved in three stages: a single car model, a two-car model, and a train-to-train model. The key features include crush zones at both ends of the passenger railcars with a pushback coupler, suspension characteristics between the trucks and car body, and derailment characteristics to approximate the wheel-to-rail interaction. The results of each model are compared and validated with data from full-scale impact tests conducted for CEM passenger rail equipment. The three-dimensional collision dynamics model developed for this thesis serves two roles: to explain the events of a CEM train-to-train test and to develop a tool for evaluating other collision conditions and equipment variations. The first role is accomplished and demonstrated through comparison of results with a full-scale test. The second role is accomplished through the documentation and demonstration of the features needed to assess other conditions and demands on CEM. The future uses of the model include investigation of new designs of CEM equipment and evaluation of crashworthiness performance in more complex collision conditions such as oblique impacts and grade crossing collisions.
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