Development of a rolling railway current collector prototype

January 11, 2016 in

    PDEng Research by Harm Visser


    02/01/2013 - ongoing


    breaks, catenary, contact wire, current collector, pantograph, wear,


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    Due to the increase of railway traffic on the conventional railway and increasing demands of both passengers and politics the influence of broken catenary contact wires on the performance of the railway system increases. Broken contact wires can be directly related to contact wire wear, which is highly influenced by the contact dynamics (high contact forces and contact losses) of the combined pantograph-catenary-system. Above that, the presence of defects in the system proves to have detrimental effects on its behaviour. This research aims at the development of a rolling current collector in order to attain a more robust current collection system. At the moment, a first prototype for testing purposes is developed. Therefore the design space has been narrowed down by the development of several models. Among these are a model concerning the electrical conductivity of the contact and the roller and a model describing the deformations and stresses and the development of the contact area. Also the temperature rise due to Joule heating and friction in the contact area is modelled. Research into the dynamics of the system is performed by the development of a mathematical model describing the dynamic properties of a catenary containing defects. The development process is extra complicated by the coupling of the design variables throughout this models. The implementation of a rolling contact element introduces another interface that connects the roller electrically to the train. Therefore work is done to develop a small, lightweight current conduction device capable of handling the high electrical currents required to drive a train.

    Future work includes the testing of the build prototype to make a preliminary assessment of the quality of the rolling current collector.