There has been significant research in recent years to analyze and improve the impact behavior and puncture resistance of railroad tank cars. Much of this research has been performed using detailed nonlinear finite element analyses supported by full scale impact testing. This use of detailed simulation methodologies has significantly improved our understanding of the tank impact behaviors and puncture prediction. However, the evaluations in these past studies were primarily performed for a few idealized impact scenarios.
This paper describes a research program to evaluate railroad tank car puncture behaviors under more general impact conditions. The approach used in this research program was to apply a tank impact and puncture prediction capability using detailed finite element analyses (FEA). The analysis methodologies apply advanced damage and failure models that were validated by series of material tests under various loading conditions. In this study, the analyses were applied to investigate the tank puncture behaviors for a wide range of impact conditions.