Review of Tank Car Side Impact Test Research and Analyses of 2007-2019
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has a long-standing research program to examine the puncture resistance of railroad tank cars used in the transportation of hazardous materials within the U.S. Since 2007. FRA conducted 11 tank car shell impact tests at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTC) in Pueblo, CO, with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) performing modeling and aiding with preparations for these tests. The objectives of the test program were to characterize the impact and puncture responses of tank cars and to support the development of finite element analysis (FEA) procedures to simulate tank car impacts and to evaluate the range of impact conditions under which various specification tank cars would puncture. Several FRA technical reports documented the results of these tests and the corresponding FEA over the course of this research program. This report contains a summary of the 11 tests and corresponding analyses, presents a discussion of numerous lessons learned over the course of the testing and analysis program, and includes comparisons of key results from the full-scale impact tests.