Numerical study of wheel-rail impact contact solutions at an insulated rail joint

Zhen Yang, Anthonie Boogaard, Zilong Wei, Jinzhao Liu, Rolf Dollevoet, Zili Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper presents an analysis of the transient contact solutions of wheel-rail frictional rolling impacts calculated by an explicit finite element model of the wheel-insulated rail joint (IRJ) dynamic interaction. The ability of the model to simulate the dynamic behavior of an IRJ has been validated against a comprehensive field measurement in a recent paper (Yang et al., 2018). In addition to the measured railhead geometry and bi-linear elastoplastic material model used in Yang et al. (2018), this study adopts a nominal railhead geometry and an elastic material model for the simulations to provide an overall understanding of the transient contact behavior of wheel-IRJ impacts. Each simulation calculates the evolution of the contact patch area, stress magnitude and direction, micro-slip distribution, and railhead nodal vibration velocity in the vicinity of the joint during the wheel-IRJ impacts. The simulations apply small computational and output time steps to capture the high-frequency dynamic effects at the wheel-IRJ impact contact. Regular wave patterns that indicate wave generation, propagation and reflection are produced by the simulations; this has rarely been reported in previous research. The simulated waves reflect continuum vibrations excited by wheel-rail frictional rolling and indicate that the simulated impact contact solutions are reliable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-322
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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.


  • Insulated rail joint (IRJ)
  • Explicit FEM
  • Wheel-rail impact contact
  • Transient solution
  • Wave


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