Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper presents a detailed study of the structural integrity of conventional and modified railroad bearing adapters for onboard monitoring applications. Freight railcars rely heavily on weigh bridges and stations to determine cargo load. As a consequence, most load measurements are limited to certain physical railroad locations. This limitation provided an opportunity for an optimized sensor that could potentially deliver significant insight on bearing condition monitoring as well as load information. Bearing adapter modifications (e.g. cut outs) were necessary to house the sensor and, thus, it is imperative to determine the reliability of the modified railroad bearing adapter, which will be used for onboard health monitoring applications. To this end, this study quantifies the impact of the proposed modifications on the adapter structural integrity through a series of experiments and finite element analyses. The commercial software Algor 20.3TM is used to conduct the stress finite element analyses. Different loading scenarios are simulated with the purpose of obtaining the conventional and modified bearing adapter stresses during normal and abnormal operating conditions. This information is then used to estimate the lifetime of these bearing adapters. Furthermore, this paper presents an experimentally validated finite element model which can be used to attain stress distribution maps of these bearing adapters in different service conditions. The maps are also useful for identifying areas of interest for an eventual inspection of conventional or modified railroad bearing adapters in the field.


© 2014 ASME. Original published version available at

Publication Title

ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition





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