Numerical procedures for reliable wheel and rail wearprediction are rare. Recent development of simulationtechniques and computer power together with tribologicalknowledge do however suggest computer aided wear prediction.The objective of the related research field at the RoyalInstitute of Technology (KTH) is to arrive at a numericalprocedure able to simulate profile evolution due to uniformwear to a degree of accuracy sufficient for application tovehicle dynamics simulation. Such a tool would be useful formaintenance planning as well as optimisation of the transportsystem and its components.
The research contribution accounted for in this thesisincludes, in addition to a literature review, refinement ofmethods applied to uniform wheel wear simulation by inclusionof braking and improvement of the contact model. Further atentative application to uniform rail wheel simulation has beenproposed and tested.
The first part addresses issues related to braking andwheel-rail contact conditions in the context of wheel wearsimulation. The KTH approach includes Archards wear modelwith associated wear maps, vehicle dynamics simulation andrailway network definition. In previous work at KTH certainvariations in operating conditions have been accounted forthrough empirically estimated average scaling factors. Theobjective of the current research is to be able to include suchvariations in the set of simulations. In particular theinfluence of disc braking and varying friction and lubricationconditions are investigated. Both environmental factors likemoist and contamination and deliberate lubrication need to beconsidered. As part of the associated contact analysis theinfluence of tangential elastic deformation of the contactingsurfaces on the sliding velocity has been separatelyinvestigated and found to be essential in case of partial slipcontact conditions.
In the second part validation of the improvements related towheel wear simulation is addressed. Disc braking has beenincluded in the simulation set and a wear map for moist contactconditions based on recent tribometer tests has been draftedand tested. It has been shown that the previously used brakingfactor accounts for the combination of the contributions fromsurface elasticity and braking. Good agreement withmeasurements from the Stockholm commuter service is achieved.It is concluded that the model improvements accounted for aresufficient for adequate simulation of tread wear but thatfurther development of the flange / gauge corner contactmodelling may be needed.
In the final part a procedure for simulation of rail wearand corresponding profile evolution has been formulated. Asimulation set is selected defining the vehicles running on thetrack to be investigated, their operating conditions, andcontact parameters. Several variations of input data may beincluded together with the corresponding occurrenceprobability. Trial calculations of four non-lubricated curveswith radii from 303 m to 802 m show qualitatively reasonableresults in terms of profile shape development and difference inwear mechanisms between gauge corner and rail head. The wearrates related to traffic tonnage are however overestimated. Itis believed that model refinements in terms of environmentalinfluence and contact stress calculation are useful to improvethe quantitative results.