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 safety. However, the performance of the detailed analyses or full scale testing can require significant computer or financial resources to evaluate a wide range of impact scenarios.

This paper describes the development of analytical models that can predict the impact and puncture behavior of a pressurized railroad tank car. The methodology applied is to first develop a model that can predict the force-deflection behavior obtained from a general impact at any point on the tank. Separately, a characteristic puncture force is determined as a function of the tank geometry, impactor geometry, and impact conditions. Combined, these models can be applied to predict the impact and puncture behavior of the tank.

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