Crippling test of a Budd Pioneer passenger car
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Crippling test of a Budd Pioneer passenger car

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  • English

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      Proceedings of the ASME/ASCE/IEEE Joint Rail Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Philadelphia, PA
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    • Abstract:
      This research program was sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research and Development in support of the advancement of improved safety standards for passenger rail vehicles. FRA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) have conducted a research program to develop alternative methods for demonstrating occupied volume integrity (OVI) of passenger rail cars using a combination of testing and analysis. Previous publications have addressed the planning and progress of a series of tests intended to examine the collision load path through the occupant volume of passenger cars equipped with crash energy management (CEM) systems. This program has included an elastic 800-kip buff strength test, two quasi-static tests that loaded a passenger car to its ultimate (crippling) capacity, and corresponding finite element (FE) analyses of each test. This paper discusses the two crippling tests and the companion FE analyses.

      One alternative method for evaluating OVI moves the applied loads from the line of draft to the collision load path. This alternative methodology also permits a combination of testing and analysis to be used to demonstrate the car’s OVI, in contrast to the conventional methodology (as prescribed in existing FRA regulations) which only permits testing. The alternative methodology was adopted as the recommendations developed by the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee’s (RSAC) Engineering Task Force (ETF) in its “Technical Criteria and Procedures for Evaluating the Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Performance of Alternatively-Designed Passenger Rail Equipment for Use in Tier I Service.” The research program was undertaken to verify the efficacy of using a combination of elastic testing and plastic analysis to evaluate the OVI of a passenger car loaded along its collision load path as prescribed in the ETF report.

      Earlier in this research program an elastic test of a Budd Pioneer car was used to validate an FE model of the car, per the ETF’s procedures. This model was then modified to reflect the condition of the car in its crippling test configuration. The model was used to simulate the crippling behavior of the car, following the ETF’s procedures. Two Pioneer cars were then tested to crippling to provide additional data to validate the FE model and the proposed alternative OVI evaluation.

      Because the test cars used in this research program were equipped with CEM systems, the alternative evaluation loads were placed at the locations where the energy-absorbing components attached to the occupant volume. During both crippling tests, loads were measured at each energy-absorber support location on the live and restrained ends of the car. Additional instrumentation used in the second crippling test included strain gages on the major longitudinal structural members, displacement transducers at each load location, and vertical, lateral, and longitudinal displacement transducers on the underframe of the car. The results of the FE analysis compare favorably with the results of the crippling tests. In particular, the crippling loads are consistent between the tests and analysis: crippling loads for the first and second cars tested were 1.15 and 1.19 million pounds respectively, and the pre-test FEA estimated a crippling load of 1.19 million pounds. The research program has established a technical basis for the alternative OVI requirements and methodology.

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