New standards have been proposed to increase the strength requirements for cab car end structures and impose further requirements on their ability to absorb energy during a grade-crossing collision [1, 2]. To aid in the development of these new standards, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Volpe Center recently completed a set of full-scale tests aimed at assessing the quasi-static and dynamic crush behavior of these end structures. In support of this testing program, end frames designed to meet the new standards were fabricated and retrofitted onto the forward end of an existing cab car. A series of large-deformation quasi-static and explicit dynamic finite element analyses (FEAs) were performed to evaluate the performance of the design. Based on the results of a 2002 full-scale test in which a heavy steel coil impacted the corner post of an end frame built to these new standards, some fracture was expected in certain key end frame components during the tests. For this reason, a material failure model, based on the Bao-Wierzbicki fracture criterion [3], was implemented in the FEA model of the cab car end frame using ABAQUS/Explicit. The FEA model with material failure was used to assess the effect of fracture on the deformation behavior of cab car end structures during quasi-static loading and dynamic impact and, in particular, the ability of such structures to absorb energy. The failure model was implemented in ABAQUS/Explicit for use with shell elements. A series of preliminary calculations were first conducted to assess the effects of element type and mesh refinement on the deformation and fracture behavior of structures similar to those found on cab car end frames, and to demonstrate that the Bao-Wierzbicki failure model can be effectively applied using shell elements. Model parameters were validated through comparison to the results of the 2002 test. Material strength and failure parameters were derived from test data for A710 steel. The model was then used to simulate the three full-scale tests that were conducted during 2008 as part of the FRA program: a collision post impact, and quasi-static loading of both a collision post and a corner post. Analysis of the results of the two collision post tests revealed the need for revisions to both the design of some key end frame components and to key material failure parameters. Using the revised model, pre-test predictions for the outcome of the corner post test were found to be in very good agreement with test results.

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