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Modeling Compressive Stress Distributions at the Interface between a Pallet Deck and Distribution Packaging
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Three components, a pallet, packaging, and material handling equipment, of the unit load portion of the supply chain are physically and mechanically interacting during product storage and shipping. Understanding the interactions between two primary components, a pallet and packaging, in a unit load is a key step towards supply chain cost reduction and workplace safety improvement. Designing a unit load without considering physical and mechanical interactions, between those two components, can result in human injury or death caused from a unsafe workplace environment and increased supply chain operating costs, due to product damage, high packaging cost, disposal expense, and waste of natural resources. This research is directed towards developing predictive models of the compressive stress distributions using the principle of the beam on an elastic foundation and experimentally quantifying the compressive stress distributions. The overall objective of this study is to develop a model that predicts compressive stress distributions at the interface between a pallet deck and packaging as a function of: pallet deck stiffness, packaging stiffness, and pallet joint fixity. The developed models were validated by comparison to the results of physical testing of the unit load section. Design variables required for modeling included Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) of pallet deckboards, Rotation Modulus (RM) for nailed joints, and packaging stiffness. Predictive models of the compressive stress distributions were non-uniformly distributed across the interface between pallet deckboards and packaging. Maximum compressive stresses were observed at the deckboard ends over stringer segments. All predictive compressive stress distributions were influenced by pallet deck stiffness, packaging stiffness, and joint fixity. The less the joint fixity the greater the pallet deck deflection. The stiffer deckboards are more sensitive to joint fixity. For predictive compressive stress distribution models, the measure of the stress concentrations was the Compressive Stress Intensity Factor (SIF), which was the ratio of the estimated maximum compressive stress to the applied stress. Less stiff pallets and stiffer packaging resulted in greater SIF for all end condition models. SIF was reduced by stiffer joint, stiffer pallet deck and more flexible packaging. The stiffer the pallet deck and pallet joint the greater the effective bearing area. The lower stiffness packaging resulted in the greater effective bearing area with all three packages. The predicted effective bearing area was more influenced by pallet deck stiffness than the packaging stiffness. The developed prediction models were validated by comparison to experimental results. All prediction models fell within 95% confidence bounds except the 3/8-inch deck with free ends and 3/4-inch deck with fixed ends. The difference between predicted and measured results was due to a limitation in pressure sensor range and test specimen construction for the free end model and fixed end model, respectively. The results show effects of pallet deck stiffness and packaging stiffness on SIFs with percentage changes ranging from 2 to 26% (absolute value of change) for all three end conditions. The sensitivity study concluded that changing both pallet deck stiffness and packaging stiffness more significantly influenced the SIFs than bearing areas.
- Doctoral Dissertations