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9 May 2005 Development of acoustic health monitoring for railroad tank cars
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This paper presents the research and development of an Acoustic Health Monitoring (AHM) system that uses Guided Lamb Wave (GLW) technology to determine the thickness of railroad tank car shells for identification of wall loss due to corrosion. In recent regulatory changes, the emphasis has shifted from the traditional hydrotest to more modern methods for assuring tank car integrity. The new generation of maintenance programs will rely heavily on nondestructive testing, and will use damage tolerance concepts and risk analysis to establish inspection frequencies and items to inspect. It is the responsibility of the owners to set up experience-based maintenance programs that are suitable for the working conditions of their own particular fleets. Development of an ideal AHM system for railroad cars would be an instrument that incorporates Acoustic Emission (AE) and GLW technology. The combination of active and passive acoustic technologies integrated into a single system would be a highly efficient means of determining the structural integrity of tank cars. The integration of the GLW technology will allow identification of corrosion wall loss in a zone between two sensors, rather than at a single point (traditional ultrasonic thickness measurements). Thus, a much larger area of the structure can be inspected for approximately the same inspection cost. With a suitable integration of this new technology into the overall inspection and corrosion management program, the fleet can be more efficiently maintained and the risk of accidental release through progressive corrosion damage can be significantly reduced.
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Richard Gostautas, Richard Finlayson, Valery Godinez, Adrian Pollock, and Jose Penya "Development of acoustic health monitoring for railroad tank cars", Proc. SPIE 5770, Advanced Sensor Technologies for Nondestructive Evaluation and Structural Health Monitoring, (9 May 2005);

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