Solving conformal wheel–rail rolling contact problems

The stresses between railway wheels and rails can be computed using different types of contact models: simplified methods, half-space-based boundary element approaches and finite element models. For conformal contact situations, particularly the contact between flange root and rail gauge corner, none of these models work satisfactorily. Finite element methods are too slow, half-space approaches ignore the effects of conformality, and simplified approaches schematise the elasticity of the material even further. This paper presents a thorough investigation of the conformal wheel–rail rolling contact problem. The authors use CONTACT's boundary element approach together with numerical influence coefficients, that are computed using the finite element approach. The resulting method is fast and detailed and can be embedded into vehicle system dynamics simulation. The results indicate that the contact area is longer and narrower, with smaller area and reduced stiffness, than is predicted by the half-space approach. The predicted maximum pressures are increased by 30%. Finally the longitudinal and lateral forces changed up to 15% of the Coulomb maximum.


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  • Accession Number: 01527927
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 24 2014 3:01PM