Side Impact Test and Analyses of a DOT-117 Tank Car

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) conducted a side impact test on a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-117J100W (DOT-117) tank car at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) to evaluate the performance of the tank car under dynamic impact conditions and to provide data for the verification and refinement of a computational model. The tank car was filled with water to approximately 95 percent of its volume and sealed, but not pressurized. The tank car was impacted at 13.9 mph by a 297,125-pound ram car with 12-inch by 12-inch ram head fitted to the ram car. The ram car impacted the tank center; it deformed and cracked the external jacket, but did not puncture the tank’s shell. The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) performed pre-test finite element (FE) modeling to estimate the overall response of the tank to the impact. This pre-test models gave results in good agreement with the test results. The post-test FE models were updated to include the actual material behavior and to better represent the test setup. The post-test FE results were in even better agreement with the test results than the pre-test estimates. The modeling and testing performed in this program demonstrated the ability of the fluid response of an impacted tank car to dominate the general force-displacement response, underscoring the importance of modeling the fluid-structure interactions with appropriate techniques. The test data is intended to be used to better understand the shell impact performance of the new specification DOT-117 tank car. The validated FE model can be used to examine additional impact scenarios beyond the tested scenario.

  • Record URL:
  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Technology Center, Incorporated

    55500 DOT Road
    Pueblo, CO  United States  81001

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Railroad Policy and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Research, Development, and Technology
    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Authors:
  • Publication Date: 2019-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report; Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 166p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01706723
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT/FRA/ORD-19/13
  • Contract Numbers: DTFR53-11-D-00008 Task Order 008; TTCI-11-033
  • Created Date: May 21 2019 7:48AM