Application of the finite element method in high-side gondola rail car design
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Finite element models of four design configurations of a proposed composite aluminum-steel high-side coal gondola rail car were developed. The designs were analyzed for compliance with the loadings set forth by the Association of American Railroads. Each of the first three designs were analyzed to check design concepts and alternatives with the fourth design being the final design planned for a prototype car.
The results of the finite element analyses indicate that the final design is acceptable. However, two areas exist where results taken literally indicate a negative margin of safety. These areas are in the end sill to draftsill connection and in the draftsill casting. These conditions appear to be inconsequential since in the end sill case, the high stress is apparently caused by modeling constraints and the draftsill casting is a traditional design and is in common use on current cars and therefore should not cause any service problems.
Step-by-step application of the finite element method to this design process is presented along with discussion of some significant element formulation assumptions and modeling methods.
- Masters Theses