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Title: Lightweight energy absorbing structures for crashworthy design
Author: O'Neill, Conor Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 0022
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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The application of lightweight composite materials into the rail industry requires a stepwise approach to ensure rail vehicle designs can make optimal use of the inherent properties of each material. Traditionally, materials such as steel and aluminium have been used in railway rolling stock to achieve the energy absorption and structural resistance demanded by European rail standards. Adopting composite materials in primary structural roles requires an innovative design approach which makes the best use of the available space within the rolling stock design such that impact energies and loads are accommodated in a managed and predictable manner. This thesis describes the innovative design of a rail driver’s cab to meet crashworthiness and structural requirements using lightweight, cost-effective composite materials. This takes the application of composite materials in the rail industry beyond the current state-of-the-art and delivers design solutions which are readily applicable across rolling stock categories. An overview of crashworthiness with respect to the rail industry is presented, suitable composite materials for incorporation into rolling stock designs are identified and a methodology to reconfigure and enhance the space available within rail vehicles to meet energy absorption requirements is provided. To realise the application of composite materials, this body of work describes the pioneering application of aluminium honeycomb to deliver unique solutions for rail vehicle energy absorbers, as well as detailing the use of lightweight composite materials to react the structural loads into the cab and carbody. To prove the capability of the design it is supported by finite element analysis and the construction of a full-scale prototype cab which culminated in the successful filing of two patents to protect the intellectual property of the resulting design.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: European Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available