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Improving the Crashworthiness of Aluminium Rail Vehicles

Lookup NU author(s): Donato Zangani, Dr George Kotsikos


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An experimental and modelling programme of work have been undertaken to predict the performance of aluminium welds in rail vehicles under highly dynamic loading conditions and provide design guidelines to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of weld unzipping. Modelling of weld unzipping in large rail structures is a challenging task since it requires to deal with material instability, to take into account the uncertainties in material parameters and to address the problem of mesh resolution which together pose severe challenges to computability. The proposed methodology to the prediction of weld failure is based on the validation of the numerical models through correlation with laboratory scale tearing tests. The tearing tests were conducted on samples taken from real rail extrusions with the purpose of obtaining the failure parameters under dynamic loading and understanding the effect of weld material composition on joint behaviour. The validated material models were used to construct a FEA simulation of the collision of an aluminium rail car and investigate the effect of both joint geometry and welding techniques on the failure mechanism. Comparisons of the model with the failures observed in an aluminium rail vehicle that was involved in a high speed collision, have shown that it is possible to model the phenomenon of weld unzipping with good accuracy. The numerical models have also been used as a tool for the optimisation of joint design to improve crashworthiness.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zangani D, Robinson M, Kotsikos G

Editor(s): Pantelakis, SG; Rodopoulos, CA

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Engineering Against Fracture: Proceedings of the 1st Conference

Year of Conference: 2009

Pages: 305-317

Publisher: Springer

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781402094019