Modelling of wheel/rail interface with Slippy

The University of Sheffield has developed an open-source contact modelling software as part of work in the EPSRC Programme Grant “Friction: The Tribology Enigma”. We are using this to investigate the wheel/rail contact.

Contact traction and stress distributions

The wheel rail contact is extremely important for the safe operation of trains. The contact must give predictable friction, wear and damage behaviour, but it is influenced strongly by multiple factors such as: the creep applied by breaking and accelerating, the relative position of the wheel on the rail, the presence of third body layers and the roughness of the surfaces.

The University has developed a general-purpose contact modelling software (Slippy) with support from EPSRC. By building models of the wheel/rail contact in Slippy, we can gain insights into the contact that would otherwise be impossible to measure. These can then be used to inform maintenance procedures or give additional support to experimental data.

People involved

Professor Tom Slatter

Professor Roger Lewis

Professor Rob Dwyer-Joyce

Dr Michael Watson

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