This paper describes engineering analyses of a railroad tank car impacted at its head by a rigid punch. This type of collision, referred to as a head impact, is examined using dynamic, nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA). Commercial software packages ABAQUS and LS-DYNA are used to carry out the nonlinear FEA. The sloshing response of fluid and coupled dynamic behavior between the fluid inside the tank car and the tank structure are characterized in the model using both Lagrangian and Eulerian mesh formulations. The analyses are applied to examine the structural behavior of railroad tank cars under a generalized head impact scenario. Structural behavior is calculated in terms of forces, deformations, and puncture resistance. Results from the two finite element codes are compared to verify this methodology for head impacts. In addition, FEA results are compared to those from a semi-empirical method.

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