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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    • 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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