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wheel rail contact elements incorporating irregularities

'wheel rail contact elements incorporating irregularities'
Wheel-rail contact elements incorporating irregularities C.J. Bowe*, T.P. Mullarkey Department of Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland Received 25 November 2003; accepted 17 March 2005 Available online 22 August 2005 Abstract The aim of this study is to simulate the dynamic vertical response of a vehicle traversing rigid rails and a railway bridge. This is achieved by using the authors’ wheel-rail contact element (WRC) to model the dynamic interaction that exists between a sprung wheel, using a Hertzian spring, and the rail. The objective in creating these elements was to model the rail and wheel irregularities, which was not a feature of the contact elements within the ANSYS fi nite element program. In this paper the numerical results generated using the authors’ WRC element are identical to the results generated using the commercial contact element of ANSYS for a smooth rail condition. In the case of irregular rails, the numerical results generated using the authors’ WRC elements compare very favourably with the results from the literature. q 2005 Civil-Comp Ltd and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Wheel-rail contact element; Hertzian spring; Rigid rails; Irregularities 1. Introduction In recent years, research on the dynamic response of trains and railway bridges has become an important topic in civil engineering. Engineers and researchers have a responsibility for ensuring the safe passage of trains traversing rails and railway bridges by carrying out extensive research on existing structures. Much of the dynamic response that the bridge and vehicle experience can be attributed to the contact that exists between the wheel and the rail. Therefore, by modelling the different wheel-rail conditions, one can better understand the dynamic response of vehicles and railway bridges. Many researchers such as Cheng et al. [1], Yang and Wu [2] and Yau et al. [3] have developed their own vehicle- bridge elements, whereby the vehicle is the assembly of an unsprung mass for the wheel and sprung mass for the vehicle body. In these systems, the wheel is assumed to be in direct contact with the rail at all times; hence, the wheel and rail have the same defl ection and wheel-rail separation is not possible on a rigid rail. In doing so, these systems must also include the additional convective accelerations due to the wheel as it travels along the beam. In the authors’ model, the wheel is represented by a sprung mass, thus a Hertzian spring exists between the wheel and the rail and is simulated by means of the WRC elements. In this case, the wheel and beam no longer have the same defl ection; hence the additional convective accelerations due to the wheel are not required. The authors’ technique involves modelling each wheel as a Hertzian spring perpendicular to the surface of the rail. Each WRC element consists of three stiffness matrices to simulate the action of the wheel on the fl exible rail, whereas only one stiffne
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