Zhao, Yunshi (2013) Low adhesion detection and identification in a railway vehicle system using traction motor behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

It is important to monitor the wheel-rail friction coefficient in railway vehicles to improve their traction and braking performance as well as to reduce the number of incidents caused by low friction. Model based fault detection and identification (FDI) methods, especially state observers have been commonly used in previous research to monitor the wheel-rail friction. However, the previous methods cannot provide an accurate value of the friction coefficient and few of them have been validated using experiments.

A Kalman filter based estimator is proposed in this research project. The developed estimator uses signals from the traction motor and provides a new and more efficient approach to monitoring the condition of the wheel-rail contact condition.

A 1/5 scaled test rig has been built to evaluate the developed method. This rig comprises 2 axle-hung induction motors driving both the wheelsets of the bogie through 2 pairs of spur gears. 2 DC generators are used to provide traction load to the rollers through timing pulleys. The motors are independently controlled by 2 inverters. Motor parameters such as voltage, current and speed are measured by the inverters. The speed of the wheel and roller and the output of the DC generator are measured by incremental encoders and Hall-effect current clamps. A LabVIEW code has been designed to process all the collected data and send control commands to the inverters. The communication between the PC and the inverters are realized using the Profibus (Process Field Bus) and the OPC (Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Process Control) protocol.

3 different estimators were first developed using computer simulations. Kalman filter and its two nonlinear developments: extended Kalman filter (EKF) and unscented Kalman filter (UKF) have been used in these 3 methods. The results show that the UKF based estimator can provide the best performance in this case. The requirement for measuring the roller speed and the traction load are also studied using the UKF. The results show that it is essential to measure the roller speed but the absence of the traction load measurement does not have significant impact on the estimation accuracy.

A re-adhesion control algorithm, which reduces excessive creepage between the wheel and rail, is developed based on the UKF estimator. Accurate monitoring of the friction coefficient helps the traction motor work at its optimum point. As the largest creep force is generated, the braking and accelerating time and distance can be reduced to their minimum values. This controller can also avoid excessive creepage and hence potentially reduce the wear of the wheel and rail.

The UKF based estimator development has been evaluated by experiments conducted on the roller rig. Three different friction conditions were tested: base condition without contamination, water contamination and oil contamination. The traction load was varied to cover a large range of creepage. The importance of measuring the roller speed and the traction load was also studied. The UKF based estimator was shown to provide reliable estimation in most of the tested conditions. The experiments also confirm that it is not necessary to measure the traction load and give good agreement with the simulation results.

With both the simulation and experiment work, the UKF based estimator has shown its capability of monitoring the wheel-rail friction coefficient.

yzhaofinalthesis.pdf - Submitted Version

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