Transforming life and reliability of railway overhead electric power lines
Supervisors:  Dr David Fletcher & Dr Adam Beagles

As railways are increasingly electrified service levels depend on an increase in life and reliability of overhead electric power supplies beyond the performance of current materials and technology. Overhead power lines are highly stressed structures without redundancy. Their failure in service is caused by a combination of wear, fatigue cracking, and corrosion. Their life/failure is controlled by material behaviour under combined cable tension, dynamic load from current collection pantographs, and environmental loading (e.g. sparking and sidewinds).

Research will focus on fatigue failure of overhead line systems, and the application of new materials / configurations able to dramatically increase life. The research will identify the mechanisms of material degradation controlling failure through experimental investigation, and use this data to validate models able to predict behaviour over a wide range of conditions.
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