Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Andrew Clark

Committee Members

Hugh Rogers, J. Paul Sims


A roller coaster manufacturer became aware that improperly heat treated track couplings were sent to a construction site for assembly. Concerns were that suspect couplings might not meet the engineering specifications and could be vulnerable to sudden failure. A testing company in Oak Ridge, TN that specializes in in-situ and laboratory mechanical testing was contacted by the manufacturer for help in this endeavor. The construction company elected to enlist a local testing firm to perform field tests on the components instead of the company in Oak Ridge. The test methods used are incapable of providing quantitative results that could be measured to the engineering specifications, making it unlikely to identify anything but the worst material conditions. This study is an example that the need for accurate analysis is very important. The manufacturer reported that 60 couplings were replaced, but it is presently unknown how many should have been replaced.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.