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The University of Southampton

Research project: Sound radiation of a rotating railway wheelset

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Rolling noise is a major noise source in railway transportation, generated by the train wheelsets rolling on the rail. Many wheel-rail interaction models assume the wheel to be stationary while moving along the track, which neglects the effects emerging from the rotatory motion.

This project aims to develop a model for the sound radiation of rotating railway wheelsets. Models for the determination of the Eigenmodes of a rotating wheelset already exist. The rotating wheel needs to be coupled to the rail via contact model to determine their dynamic interaction. Thereafter, the vibrating structures need to be coupled to a model for the sound radiation. Once the whole model for the sound radiation of the rotating wheelset is established, different forcing scenarios can be studied to assess different types of rolling noise and the importance of including the wheel rotation. This not only comprises general excitation due to the roughness at the wheel-rail contact. Additionally, curve squealing noise arising from the wheelsets when negotiating through tight curves or impact noise when passing over a track discontinuity (e.g. railroad junction) can be studied employing an appropriate contact model. Besides, small-scale models or field measurements can be used to validate the results of the numerical models.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Implementation of a model to determine the dynamics of the rotating railway wheelset.
  • Implementation of a model to determine the dynamics of the rail.
  • Dynamic coupling of the wheel-rail interaction with a contact model.
  • Coupling of the vibration models to a model for acoustic radiation.
  • Study of the contact forces and emitted noise for different forcing scenarios and comparison of different rolling speeds to the stationary wheel.
  • Further parametric investigations (importance of geometric or material parameters, treatments, and more…)
  • Validation of the developed model with measurements.

Associated research themes

Related research groups

Dynamics Group
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