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The University of Southampton

Research project: Modelling of rail corrugation growth in curved track

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Railway corrugation is a periodic wave-shaped irregularity on the running surface of the rails. It usually produces unacceptable increase of rolling noise and vibration. This project aims to investigate rutting corrugation in curved track through numerical modelling, to understand the mechanisms and predict the growth.

A simulation tool is being developed which consists of several sub-models connected in a feedback loop (as shown in the figure) in order to account for both the short-term dynamic vehicle-track interaction and the long-term damage leading to corrugation.

The sub-models in the simulation tool will include:

  •  Wheel-rail contact model (unsteady non-Hertizian)
  •  Semi-analytical discretely supported track model
  •  Finite element wheelset model
  •  Wheel-rail interaction model (time domain)
  •  Wear model

To find the contact patch location and steady-state contact forces a basic vehicle dynamics simulation is also included.

Although most sub-models used here are based on methods that have been developed and validated previously, one innovative development in this project is the method used in the wheel-rail interaction model. This combines a moving Green’s function method for the track system and a state-space method for the wheelset in the time domain. This method not only guarantees the accuracy of the response of the discretely supported track system, but also reduces the simulation time as much as possible.

The results of the overall simulation will be compared with measurement data, parameter studies will be used to assess corrugation growth-control methodologies.

Figure of simulation tool
Figure of simulation tool

Associated research themes

Railway Noise and Vibration Research at the ISVR | Engineering | University of Southampton

Related research groups

Dynamics Group
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