Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Constantine M. Tarawneh

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen W. Crown

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Jones


Determining the exact load carried by an individual railcar is crucial in the railroad industry. With an accurate load measurement, the filling process can be optimized to provide maximum cargo load without exceeding the loading thresholds set by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). In addition to optimizing the cargo load, an accurate load measurement will make it possible to identify any load imbalance in the railcar which has detrimental effects on bearing. Previous work conducted with a strain-gauge-based load sensor suspended between a thermoplastic steering pad and a bearing adapter provided accurate load data in the laboratory setting. This thesis details the work performed to optimize the load sensor for use in freight railcars, which includes developing a calibration procedure suitable for field service. The thesis also summarizes the efforts undertaken to produce eight load sensor prototypes in preparation for field testing on a freight railcar.


Copyright 2015 Thomas Michael Diedrich. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American