Development of a New Downscale Setup for Wheel-Rail Contact Experiments under Impact Loading Conditions

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A new downscale test rig is developed for investigating the contact between the wheel and rail under impact-like loading conditions. This paper presents the development process of the setup, including review and synthesis of the potential experimental techniques, followed by scalability, mechanical and operational analysis of the new setup. The new test rig intends to remedy the lack of dynamic similarity between the actual railway and the existing laboratory testing capability, by taking into account the factors that contribute to high-frequency dynamics of the wheel-track system. The paper first reviews the functionalities of the existing test techniques in the literature. Based on this survey, the category of the scaled wheel on the rail track ring is chosen. Afterwards, three potential alternatives are identified under the chosen category and the optimum mechanism is achieved through finite element modelling and analysis of the structures. A downscale test rig, consisting of multiple wheel components running over a horizontal rail track ring, effectively fulfilled the requirements needed for analogical testing of the wheel-rail contact behaviour. The new test rig is a unique experimental setup due to the involvement of high-frequency dynamic vibrations in the wheel-track system and analogy of the incorporated elements and loading to those of the real-life system. This paper further presents the results of some real experiments carried out using the newly-built setup to support substantial ideas behind its development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalExperimental Techniques: a publication for the practicing engineer
Volume42 (2018)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • test rig
  • wheel-rail contact
  • dynamic
  • experiment


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