Freight Car Fatigue Analysis: Guidelines and Application

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Association of American Railroads
In recent years, the increase in occurrences of fatigue-induced failures in freight car structures has led to a need for the development of suitable fatigue analysis and prediction tools. In order to fill that need, the Track Train Dynamics Program initiated a project to develop a set of industry guidelines for fatigue analysis of freight car body components. This analysis was intended to complement the existing freight car design specifications, and fill an existing gap in the car design process. The outgrowth of this project was the development of Interim Guidelines for Fatigue Analysis of Freight Cars, which have recently been adopted by the Mechanical Division of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) as an Industry Specification (M-1003). These guidelines introduce a fatigue analysis methodology which can be incorporated into the freight car design procedure. Thus, these guidelines represent an analytical tool, with which the freight car design engineer can determine the fatigue life of critical freight car components that are subjected to the fluctuating stresses experienced in railroad service. It is the purpose of this paper to briefly introduce the methodology presented in the fatigue life analysis guidelines, and to discuss their validation, implementation and limitations.
Freight car, Fatigue analysis, Fatigue-induced failures
Halcomb, S., & Zarembski, A. M., “Freight Car Fatigue Analysis: Guidelines and Application”, Track Train Dynamics Conference, Chicago, IL, November 1979.