Iwnicki, S., Ekh, M., Nielsen, J., Kassa, E. and Nicklisch, D. (2010) Geometry and stiffness optimization for switches and crossings, and simulation of material degradation. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 224 (4). pp. 279-292. ISSN 0954-4097

A methodology for simulating wear, rolling contact fatigue, and plastic deformation for a mixed traffic situation in switches and crossings (S&C) has been developed. The methodology includes simulation of dynamic vehicle—track interaction considering stochastic variations in input data, simulation of wheel—rail contacts accounting for non-linear material properties and plasticity, and simulation of wear and plastic deformation in the rail during the life of the S&C component. To find means of improving the switch panel design, the geometry of a designed track gauge variation in the switch panel has been represented in a parametric way. For traffic in the facing and trailing moves of the through route, an optimum solution was identified and then validated by evaluating a wide set of simulation cases (using different wheel profiles). The optimum design includes a 12 mm maximum gauge widening. Several crossing geometries were investigated to find an optimal geometric design for the crossing nose and wing rails. The MaKüDe design showed the best performance for moderately worn wheel profiles in both running directions (facing and trailing moves). In connection with reduced support stiffness (e.g. elastic rail pads), this crossing design is predicted to lead to a significant reduction of impact loads and consequently provide a high potential of life-cycle cost reduction.

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