This paper describes analyses of a railroad tank car impacted at its side by a ram car with a rigid punch. This generalized collision, referred to as a shell impact, is examined using nonlinear (i.e., elastic-plastic) finite element analysis (FEA) and three-dimensional (3-D) collision dynamics modeling. Moreover, the analysis results are compared to full-scale test data to validate the models. Commercial software packages are used to carry out the nonlinear FEA (ABAQUS and LS-DYNA) and the 3-D collision dynamics analysis (ADAMS). Model results from the two finite element codes are compared to verify the analysis methodology. Results from static, nonlinear FEA are compared to closed-form solutions based on rigid-plastic collapse for additional verification of the analysis. Results from dynamic, nonlinear FEA are compared to data obtained from full-scale tests to validate the analysis. The collision dynamics model is calibrated using test data. While the nonlinear FEA requires high computational times, the collision dynamics model calculates gross behavior of the colliding cars in times that are several orders of magnitude less than the FEA models.

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