An overview of passenger equipment fullscale impact tests : results to date
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An overview of passenger equipment fullscale impact tests : results to date

Filetype[PDF-1.46 MB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      World Congress on Railway Research
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    • Abstract:
      As part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Equipment Safety Research Program, a series of full-scale impact tests are being conducted on rail passenger vehicles. Three tests are intended to define the performance of current-design equipment in in-line collisions:

      1. A single car impact with a fixed wall

      2. A two coupled car impact with a fixed wall, and

      3. A moving cab car led train impact with a standing locomotive-led train.

      These tests are designed to first measure the crashworthiness of a single car, then the interactions of two cars when coupled, and finally the behavior of a complete train, including the interactions of the colliding cars. As part of these tests, interior configurations with forward facing unrestrained, forward facing restrained, and rear facing unrestrained test dummies are being used to measure potential occupant dynamics during a train collision. The first two tests have already been conducted. The third test is planned for the fall of 2001. Similar tests are currently being planned for crash energy management equipment. The crash energy management equipment is expected to perform significantly better in these tests than the conventional equipment.

      While the principal objective of these tests is to determine effective strategies for improved structural crashworthiness and improved occupant protection, a secondary objective is to validate and improve the computer models that have been developed as part of the rail vehicle crashworthiness research. Results from the tests conducted to date show that the force reaches a high initial peak, and then decreases as the car crushes. The consequence of this decreasing force/crush characteristic is that the structural damage will be focused on the impacting cars in a collision, with very little damage to the trailing cars. Results from the occupant experiments show that the collision environment experienced by the occupants is different than assumed in early analyses. Earlier analyses and sled tests have assumed that the principal car motions influencing the occupants occurred longitudinally, and that the vertical and lateral car motions could be neglected. The vertical accelerations of the cars during the two-car test resulted in the heads of the test dummies rising over the seatbacks, and consequent high loads on the necks of the dummies. Such motions and loads were not been observed in previous sled testing.

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