This paper describes a nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) framework that examines the impact energy to fracture unnotched Charpy specimens by an oversized, nonstandard pendulum impactor called the Bulk Fracture Charpy Machine (BFCM). The specimens are made from railroad tank car steel, have different thicknesses and interact with impact tups with different sharpness. The FEA employs a Ramberg-Osgood equation for plastic deformations. Progressive damage and failure modeling is applied to predict initiation and evolution of fracture and ultimate material failure. Two types of fracture initiation criterion, i.e., the constant equivalent strain criterion and the stress triaxiality dependent equivalent strain criterion, are compared in material modeling. The impact energy needed to fracture a BFCM specimen is calculated from the FEA. Comparisons with the test data show that the FEA results obtained using the stress triaxiality dependent fracture criterion are in excellent agreement with the BFCM test data.

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