Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Constantine Tarawneh

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen W. Crown

Third Advisor

Dr. Arturo Fuentes


Freight railcars rely heavily on weigh bridges and stations to determine cargo load. As a consequence, all load measurements are limited to certain locations and specified prices. To this end, this study presents work performed to develop one of the first economical, reliable sensors for keeping track of both dynamic and static loads on a freight railcar. Preliminary testing provided a strain-gauge based sensor that delivered load information in the laboratory environment. Federal Railroad Association (FRA) protocol testing was met and consistent results were obtained from the sensing device. The latter allowed for an optimized sensor that could potentially deliver significant insight on bearing condition monitoring as well as load information. The sensor, made from A-242 tooling steel, is embedded in a bearing adapter under a thermoplastic elastomer suspension element patented as the AdapterPlus™ Pad. This thesis details the different geometrical variations of the insert, finite element analysis, and calibration methods used in order to develop the optimal sensor to prepare for field testing in the railroad industry.


Copyright 2013 Lorenzo Saenz IV. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American