Phase 11 of the RPI-AAR Project has addressed the question of tank car exposure to fire environments with the ultimate objective of developing cost-effective methods of reducing the probability of tank car ruptures in fires. By means of accident investigations, tests, and theoretical analyses, this study has sought to determine both the characteristics of the fire environment and the tank car response to fire exposure, including the assessment of thermal stresses. The study has emphasized the Class DOT 112A and 114A non-insulated cars since they have been involved in more significant accident loss cases. The several Phase 11 activities have included a series of laboratory fire tests conducted on plates simulating tank car steels and field fire tests conducted on 1/5 scale and full scale tank cars. The purpose of these tests has been to: 1. Study a single type of fire (i.e., the all-enveloping fire); 2. Characterize the response of 112A/114A type tank cars to the all enveloping fire; and 3. Evaluate representative state-of-the-art thermal protection systems (coatings) which might be applied to such cars. In addition to the above, the data from the 1/5 scale and full scale field tests will be used to improve a computer program which has been developed to predict the transient pressure/temperature histories of 112A/114A tank cars exposed to a variety of fires, including the all enveloping type. The data will also be used to improve the laboratory fire test apparatus. Both the computer program and laboratory test will be used in the development of performance requirements and specifications for candidate thermal shield materials. A specific purpose of the 1/5 scale tests has been to prepare for the full scale tests by gaining preliminary knowledge of the fires, instrumentation techniques, methods of data reduction and analysis, and the behavior of several thermal shield materials. The complete series of fire tests has consisted of seven (7) 1/5 scale and two (2) full scale tests, all conducted in cooperation with the DOT, FRA. These tests were performed at the White Sands Missile Range, initially by personnel of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) and subsequently by the Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) under contract to the DOT (FRA). Under this cooperative arrangement the RPI-AAR furnished the 1/5 scale tanks and the full scale tank cars complete with lading, appropriate fittings and safety devices. The NOL (later BRL) provided the instrumentation, conducted the instrumentation, conducted the tests, and furnished reduced data. The report presented here analyzes the data obtained from the seven (7) 1/5 scale tests. The two (2) full scale tests will be treated in a subsequent report. All seven (7) tanks were constructed to a 1/5 linear scale of a nominal 33,500 gallon DOT 112340W tank car, except that the full scale shell thickness and safety valve were maintained. Figure A is a sketch of the 1/5 scale tank and the typical instrumentation and test setup. It is emphasized that the results, and particularly the conclusions, presented here apply only to the 1/5 scale tanks, and should not be extrapolated to the full scale case. Moreover, it is emphasized that this report represents only the analyses and views of the RPI-AAR Project, and does not necessarily reflect those of the DOT (FRA).

Media Info

  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 41 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00080373
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Association of American Railroads
  • Report/Paper Numbers: R-155
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 11 1976 12:00AM