Fuel tank integrity research : fuel tank analyses and test plans
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Fuel tank integrity research : fuel tank analyses and test plans

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Proceedings of the 2013 ASME/IEEE/ASCE Joint Rail Conference, April 15-18, 2013, Knoxsville, TN
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    • Abstract:
      The Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research

      and Development is conducting research into fuel tank

      crashworthiness. Fuel tank research is being performed to

      determine strategies for increasing the fuel tank impact

      resistance to mitigate the threat of a post-collision or postderailment

      fire. In accidents, fuel tanks are subjected to

      dynamic loading, often including a blunt or raking impact from

      various components of the rolling stock or trackbed. Current

      design practice requires that fuel tanks have minimum

      properties adequate to sustain a prescribed set of static load

      conditions. Current research is intended to increase

      understanding of the impact response of fuel tanks under

      dynamic loading. Utilizing an approach that has been effective

      in increasing the structural crashworthiness of railcars,

      improved strategies can be developed that will address the

      types of loading conditions which have been observed to occur

      in a collision or derailment event.

      U.S. rail accident surveys reveal the types of threats fuel

      tanks are exposed to during collisions, derailments and other

      events. These include blunt impacts and raking impacts to any

      exposed side of the tank. This research focuses on evaluating

      dynamic impact conditions for fuel tanks and investigating how

      fuel tank design features affect the collision performance of the

      tank. Research activities will include analytical modeling of

      fuel tanks under dynamic loading conditions, dynamic impact

      testing of fuel tank articles, and recommendations for improved

      fuel tank protection strategies.

      This paper describes detailed finite element analyses that

      have been developed to estimate the behavior of three different

      fuel tanks under a blunt impact. These analyses are being used

      to understand the deformation behavior of different tanks and

      prepare for planned testing of two of these tanks. Observations

      are made on the influence of stiffeners, baffles, and other

      design details relative to the distance from impact.

      This paper subsequently describes the preliminary test

      plans for the first set of tests on conventional passenger

      locomotive fuel tanks. The first set of tests is designed to

      measure the deformation behavior of the fuel tanks with a blunt

      impact of the bottom face of the tanks. The test articles are fuel

      tanks from two retired EMD F-40 locomotives. A blunt impact

      will be conducted by securing the test articles to a crash wall

      and impacting them with an indenter extending from a test cart.

      This set of tests is targeted for late summer 2013 at the

      Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado.

      Both blunt and raking impact conditions will be evaluated

      in future research. Tests are also being planned for DMU fuel

      tanks under dynamic loads.

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