Numerical modeling of dynamic frictional rolling contact with an explicit finite element method

Zhen Yang, Xiangyun Deng, Zili Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


The modeling of dynamic frictional rolling contact is crucial for accurately predicting behavior and deterioration of structures under dynamic interactions such as wheel/rail, tire/road, bearings and gears. However, reliable modeling of dynamic frictional rolling contact is challenging, because it requires a careful treatment of friction and a proper consideration of the dynamic effects of the structures on the contact. This study takes the wheel-rail dynamic interaction as an example to systematically explore the core algorithms for the modeling of dynamic frictional rolling contact by way of explicit finite element analyses. The study also theoretically demonstrates that the explicit finite element method handles nonlinearities in friction, material properties, arbitrary contact geometries and boundary conditions, and fully couples the calculation of frictional rolling contact with the calculation of high-frequency structural dynamics. An indirect validation method for dynamic contact solutions is proposed. To promote the broad use of the method, this paper proposes a detailed procedure for establishing robust wheel-rail dynamic interact tion models and obtaining dynamic contact responses. The proposed procedure can also be applied to the modeling of dynamic interactions occurring to tire-road, bearings and gears.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-231
Number of pages18
JournalTribology International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Dynamic interaction
  • Explicit FEM
  • Frictional rolling
  • Wheel-rail contact


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