A Computational Efficient General Wheel-Rail Contact Detection Method

Joao Pombo, Jorge Ambrósio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The development and implementation of an appropriate methodology for the accurate geometric description of track models is proposed in the framework of multibody dynamics and it includes the representation of the track spatial geometry and its irregularities. The wheel and rail surfaces are parameterized to represent any wheel and rail profiles obtained from direct measurements or design requirements. A fully generic methodology to determine, online during the dynamic simulation, the coordinates of the contact points, even when the most general three dimensional motion of the wheelset with respect to the rails is proposed. This methodology is applied to study specific issues in railway dynamics such as the flange contact problem and lead and lag contact configurations. A formulation for the description of the normal contact forces, which result from the wheel-rail interaction, is also presented. The tangential creep forces and moments that develop in the wheel-rail contact area are evaluated using : Kalker linear theory ; Heuristic force method ; Polach formulation. The methodology is implemented in a general multibody code. The discussion is supported through the application of the methodology to the railway vehicle ML95, used by the Lisbon metro company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mechanical Science and Technology
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


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