Volpe Center Highlights
Promote public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related deaths, injuries, and property damage.
Static Electricity Hazards With Maritime Cargo (USCGC)
Mr. Michael Dyer, of the Volpe Center's Environmental Engineering Division, recently completed a field guide on safety precautions to address the hazards of static electricity in the carriage and handling of bulk oil and chemical products by tank vessels for the United States Coast Guard. The goal of the effort is to promote awareness of the dangers of electrostatic ignition in cargo tanks, which is still the cause of deadly and destructive accidents despite the availability of pertinent safety literature. The field guide, which will be disseminated to the widest possible audience, is a booklet presenting safety precautions and technical information in an easily accessible format. In particular, the booklet was designed to address the needs of small companies engaged in the handling of these products and in the cleaning and maintenance of the tank vessels. It was prepared with the assistance of a technical advisory group composed of members from industry, academia, and standards organizations. The Coast Guard plans to release the guide as a Navigation and Inspection Circular, for distribution through the local Marine Safety Offices.
Hazardous Materials Transport (RSPA)
The Center's Environmental Engineering Division is providing analytical and technical support to RSPA's Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS) on the safe transport of hazardous materials. Copies of a revised final draft of a two-volume Center-prepared report, entitled "Identification of Factors for Selecting Modes and Routes for Shipping High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel," were recently submitted to Mr. Richard Hannon, Director of OHMS Office of Hazardous Materials Planning and Analysis. The report, prepared in response to requirements included in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990, evaluates factors considered by shippers and carriers of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in order to enhance overall public safety. It also reviews and responds to the comments submitted by the public on a previous draft of the report. Comments from RSPA and FHWA are now being incorporated into the final report.
Rail Vehicle Crashworthiness Symposium (FRA)
The Rail Vehicle Crashworthiness Symposium, sponsored by FRA's Office of Research and Development, was recently held at the Volpe Center. Dr. Richard John, Volpe Center Director, welcomed the 95 members of the international community of rail transportation experts who attended. The objectives of the symposium were to present results of current research on rail vehicle collision safety and passenger rail equipment crashworthiness design, and to provide a forum for exchange of technical information between research organizations, passenger railroad operators, equipment manufacturers, and constituent organizations concerned with rail passenger car collision safety. Introductory remarks were offered by Mr. Steven Ditmeyer, Director of the FRA's Office of Research and Development, and Mr. Grady Cothen, Deputy Associate Administrator of the FRA's Office of Safety Enforcement. Dr. Herbert Weinstock, chief of the Center's Structures and Dynamics Division, gave a presentation, co-authored with Mr. David Tyrell, which dealt with Design Considerations for Rail Vehicle Crashworthiness. Also representing the Structures and Dynamics Division, Ms. Kristine Severson presented the results of a study she co-authored with Mr. Tyrell on Passenger Response in Train Collisions.
Qualitative Non-Destructive Evaluation Conference (FAA)
On July 31 and August 1, 1996, Dr. John Brewer, of the Vehicle Crashworthiness Division, participated in the Twenty-Third Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Non-Destructive Evaluation, held at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, ME. Dr. Brewer has been active in the application of non-destructive evaluation regarding the damage tolerance of aging aircraft. At the conference, he presented a paper entitled "Probability of Visual Crack Detection from Japanese Maintenance Data," which supports estimates associated with the probability that a crack will be found during an inspection, as a function of the crack's size.