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


Many industries have begun shifting into the Internet of Things (IoT) in the 21st century. To help ease this transition for the rail industry, The University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) has partnered with Hum Industrial Technology, Inc. (HUM) to help complete the development of a Wireless Onboard Condition Monitoring system named the ‘Boomerang™’. This product allows customers to schedule proactive maintenance on their railcars to replace defective wheels and/or bearings, saving them time, money and potentially preventing costly catastrophic derailments. The UTCRS research team has established thresholds to determine defective bearings utilizing thermal and mechanical sensors.

The effectiveness and efficacy of the Boomerang™ devices to identify different types of defects on bearings were tested and compared against validated UTCRS wired and wireless sensor modules. Laboratory testing was performed on dynamic bearing test rigs that mimic rail service operation. Additionally, a methodical temperature calibration was performed for the Boomerang™ to predict bearing operating temperatures to within 8℃ for a wide range of operating conditions. After a few optimization cycles followed by a functionality verification, 40 Boomerangs were assembled and deployed for a field pilot test. Results of the pilot test confirm the Boomerang™ readiness for field service implementation.


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