Numerical tribology of the wheel-rail contact : Application to corrugation defect

Abstract : For more than a century, rail corrugation has been exposed as one of the most serious problems experienced in railway networks. It also comes with a series of problems for maintenance, such as rolling noises and structural vibrations that can reduce lifetime of both train and track. This periodical phenomenon on rail surface is closely linked to wheel-rail contact dynamic, which depends on friction, train dynamics… To better understand corrugation birth conditions, a numerical model is suggested to complement the experimental limitations and to instrument a wheel-rail contact both locally and dynamically. At first, an appropriate tool was chosen to create the dynamic wheel-rail contact model to reproduce straight-track corrugation, also called “short-pitch” corrugation. The implicit dynamic finite element code Abaqus was chosen to investigate the dynamic local contact conditions. Both the origin and the evolution of straight-track corrugation under transient conditions (acceleration / deceleration) are studied. The parametrical sensibility of corrugation is thus investigated both with single/multiple wheel passing(s) and with geometric defect. A stick-slip phenomenon, linked to both wheel and rail dynamics coupled through the contact, is identified as the root of straight-track corrugation under transient conditions. Secondly, results obtained with the previous model have highlighted a quick decrease of corrugation amplitude with the increase of wheel passings over the rail. This last result seems to be in contradiction with reality. This problem comes from the difficulty to reliably manage contact dynamics, and particularly with local impacts, with the use of classical finite element models such as the one implemented in Abaqus. To compensate for this lack, a mass redistribution method is implemented in Abaqus and used with the previous case. The results show a more realistic corrugation growth according to the number of wheel passings.
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Fangfang Duan. Numerical tribology of the wheel-rail contact : Application to corrugation defect. Mechanics [physics.med-ph]. INSA de Lyon, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ISAL0019⟩. ⟨tel-01371001⟩

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