Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Constantine Tarawneh

Second Advisor

Dr. Heinrich Foltz

Third Advisor

Dr. Arturo Fuentes


The current limitations in established rail transport condition monitoring methods have motivated the UTCRS railway research team at UTRGV to investigate a novel solution that can address these deficiencies through wired, onboard, and vibration-based analytics. Due to the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), the research team has now transitioned into developing wireless modules that take advantage of the rapid data processing and wireless communication features these systems possess. This has enabled UTCRS to partner with Hum Industrial Technology, Inc. to assist them in the development of their “Boomerang” wireless condition monitoring system. Designed to revolutionize the way the railway industry monitors rolling stock assets; the product is intended to provide preemptive maintenance scheduling through the continuous monitoring of railcar wheels and bearings. Ultimately, customers can save time, money, and avoid potentially catastrophic events. The wheel condition monitoring capabilities of the Boomerang were evaluated through various laboratory experiments that mimicked rail service operating conditions. The possible optimization of the system by incorporating a filter was also investigated. To further validate the efficacy of the prototype, a pilot field test consisting of 40 modules was conducted. The exhibited agreement between the laboratory and field pilot test data as well as the detection of a faulty wheelset demonstrates the functionality of the sensor module as a railcar wheel health monitoring device.


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