Mechanisms of Short Pitch Rail Corrugation and Automatic Early Detection by Axle Box Acceleration (ABA) Measurement

January 11, 2016 in

PhD Research by Shaoguang Li

Rolf Dollevoet, Zili Li

02/01/2010 - ongoing


axle box acceleration, FE modelling, plastic deformation, short pitch corrugation, wear,

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Short pitch corrugation (SPC) is a type of periodic vertical irregularities on the top of rail on straight tracks or in gentle curves, with a wavelength of 2 ~ 8 cm. It is also called “roaring rail” because of the generation of noise by the passing of wheels. It can be found on all kind of railways: conventional or high speed, main line or metro/light rail etc. SPC causes higher dynamic wheel-rail contact forces, leading to rapid deterioration of the track. The roaring noise is a nuisance to people living near the railway lines.

Plastic deformation and wear are thought of being responsible for the damage mechanism. But the wavelength-fixing mechanism can still not be explained. Furthermore, parameters which are responsible for these mechanisms have not been identified. The only effective solution to corrugation so far is grinding of rail head, which is associated with high costs and reduces the availability of railway network.

This research employs a three dimensional (3D) transient Finite Element (FE) Vehicle/Track frictional rolling contact model to study the initiation and growth of SPC, investigate and understand the damage mechanisms from periodic wear and plastic deformation and identify which parameter(s) are responsible for SPC. Besides, algorithms will be developed for automatic detection of the SPC at its early stage based on Axle Box Acceleration (ABA) measurements.

The results from this research could give theoretical and practical guidelines for new lines design, and existing lines maintenance for the purpose to control and reduce SPC under an acceptable level. The developed automatic early detection of SPC can help plan the maintenance more efficiently and economically.