Effective management of the wheel/rail contact is an important aspect of rail infrastructure operations. All the influencing factors have to be taken into account as they interact closely. For example, measures used to reduce wear, such as lubrication, can influence fatigue and adhesion, and the measures used to increase adhesion, such as sanding, can have a detrimental effect on wear. A fine balance has to be found in determining maintenance schedules and lubrication regimes to keep railway networks running smoothly. Another important aspect is maintenance of the optimum wheel and rail profiles (through grinding) that can help avoid the onset of damage mechanisms.
This session aims at bringing together researchers and experts from various fields reporting on the current state of wheel/rail contact research. The discussion will promote interaction and collaboration among universities, research centres, railway operators and industry in order to propose solutions and indicate directions of future research.
The session will cover, but not is limited to, the following topics:
- Wheel/rail contact mechanics
- Wheel and rail material wear, rolling contact fatigue and other damage mechanisms (corrugations, squats, etc.)
- Management of wheel/rail friction (use of friction modifiers, lubricants etc.), including effective measurement of friction
- Causes of and overcoming low adhesion problems (traction gels etc.)
- Third-body layer analysis and the role of oxides in friction levels
- Noise and vibration generated by the wheel/rail contact and their mitigation
- Rail grinding: techniques, strategies, effects on noise, and rail failure mechanisms