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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  • 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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