INNOTRANS: German aerospace research centre DLR will be exhibiting a rolling stock crash energy absorbing structure which has been developed as part of its Next Generation Train technology programme.
The structure comprises a metal frame with several longitudinal tapering metal tubes. In the event of collision these are pushed through a narrowing section, with the resulting controlled deformation absorbing a large proportion of the kinetic energy while the frame and the areas behind it remain intact.
‘Our main idea was to develop a highly efficient crash structure which also forms an integral part of the vehicles, not an additional component that is added on and increases weight’, explained to Michael Zimmermann, the researcher responsible for the concept. ‘We are not only trying to make it highly efficient and light, but also the coach structures that follow, such as the chassis and passenger module. The crash concept reduces the force exerted on these areas during a collision. This then enables us to reduce the weight significantly during construction.’
Two 80 tonne tank wagons equipped with instrumentation and high-speed cameras were used to test the prototype in an 18·5 km/h collision at TÜV Süd’s facility in Görlitz. The structure was found to work as expected, with the energy absorbed in such a way that the wagons were not damaged. The data is now to be used to inform a simulation of a collision involving a full train.