Numerical procedures for reliable wheel and rail wear prediction are rare. Recent development of simulation techniques and computer power together with tribological knowledge do however suggest computer aided wear prediction as possible. The present objective is to devise a numerical procedure able to simulate profile evolution due to uniform wear sufficiently accurate for application to vehicle dynamics simulation. Such a tool should be useful for maintenance planning, optimisation of the railway system and its components as well as trouble-shooting. More specifically, the field of application may include estimation of reprofiling frequency, optimisation of wheel – rail profile match, optimisation of running gear suspension parameters, and recognition of unfavourable profile evolution influencing the dynamic response of the vehicle.
The research contribution accounted for in this thesis includes, besides a literature review, modelling of the wheel – rail interface, benchmarking against traditional methods, and validation with respect to full-scale measurements.
The first part addresses wheel – rail contact conditions in the context of wear simulation as well as tribological environment and tractive forces. The current approach includes Archard’s wear model with associated wear maps, vehicle dynamics simulation, and railway network definition. One objective is to be able to include variations in operation conditions in the set of simulations instead of using scaling factors. In particular the influence of disc braking and varying lubrication conditions have been investigated. Both environmental factors like moist and contamination and deliberate lubrication need to be considered. As part of the associated contact analysis the influence of tangential elastic deformation of the contacting surfaces has been investigated and found to be essential in case of partial slip contact conditions. The influence on the calculated wear of replacing the Hertzian contact by a non-elliptic semi-Hertzian method has been investigated, showing relocation of material loss towards increased profile curvature.
In the second part comparisons have been carried out with traditional methods, where the material loss is assumed to be directly related to the energy dissipated in the contact. Attention has been paid to the understanding of the principle differences between the investigated methods, comparing the distribution of friction energy, sliding velocity, and wear depth. As a prerequisite, contact conditions with dependence on wheelset guidance and curving performance as well as influence of tractive forces have been investigated.
In the final part validation of the developments related to wheel wear simulation is addressed. Disc braking has been included and a wear map for moist contact conditions based on recent tests has been drafted. Good agreement with measurements from the reference operation, is achieved. Further a procedure for simulation of rail wear and corresponding profile evolution has been formulated. A simulation set is selected defining the vehicles running on the track to be investigated, their operating conditions, and contact parameters. Trial calculations of a few curves show qualitatively good results in terms of profile shape development and difference in wear mechanisms between gauge corner and rail head. The wear rates related to traffic tonnage are however overestimated. The impact of the model improvements accounted for in the first part of the thesis has been investigated, indicating directions for further development.
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , x, 100 p.