Dynamic analysis of railway vehicle/track interaction forces
Methods of predicting the dynamic forces are developed for the cases of vehicles negotiating vertical and lateral track irregularities. The bounds of validity of various models of the track are evaluated, from single degree of freedom, lumped parameter models to the case of a two layered beam on elastic foundation with a moving dynamic load. For the case of the lateral response of a vehicle negotiating a track switch, a finite element model of the track is also developed. The vehicle model developed for-the vertical case contains all the rigid body modes of a four axle vehicle for which primary and secondary suspension can be included with viscous or friction suspension damping. Solution of the vehicle/track interaction problem for these non-linear models is obtained by numerical integration, vehicle and track being connected by the non-linear wheel/rail contact stiffness. The most significant forces are shown to arise from the interaction of the unsprung mass and track resilience, with the vehicle modes also making a significant contribution, particularly in friction damped cases. For the lateral case use is made of an existing model of transient vehicle behaviour containing the wheel/rail contact non-linearities, to which track resilience is added in order to predict the track forces. The model is used to predict the forces which would be anticipated at discrete lateral irregularities such as those to be found at track switches. Once again the interaction with the track introduces modes of vibration which are significant in terms of wheel/rail forces. Comparison is made with experimental results obtained from full scale tests in the field. In one experiment the vertical track forces due to a range of vehicles negotiating a series of dipped welds in the track were measured, and in a second the lateral forces were recorded at the site of an artificially introduced lateral kink. A particular application of the results is in the prediction of the rate of deterioration of vertical and lateral geometry due to dynamic forces. This is to offer an improved understanding of the deterioration mechanism in order to influence the future design of vehicles and track to reduce maintenance costs.