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The National Academies

Safety IDEA Project 20 [Completed (IDEA)]

Material with Improved Absorption of Collision Forces for Railroad Cars

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: North Carolina State University
Principal Investigator: Afsaneh Rabiei
Fiscal Year: 2012

This investigation examined the feasibility of using composite metal foams (CMF) to improve the crashworthiness of rail passenger cars. Metal foams integrated into the structure of passenger cars have the potential to significantly increase crash energy absorption. This would provide additional protection to occupants in collisions or derailments.
 
CMF samples were tested, including high-speed impact testing, mimicking car collisions up to 120 mph.  Project findings demonstrated the effectiveness of CMF in improving crash energy management systems for railroad cars. The results provided a fundamental understanding of the behavior of CMF that is of critical importance before composite metal foams can be implemented effectively to increase protection against hazards in potential railroad car collisions and derailments.
 
The contractor's final report is available.

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