The influence of wheelset flexibility on polygonal wear of locomotive wheels
Abstract This paper reports on fundamental research to investigate the influence of wheelset flexibility on the development of wheel polygonization of a locomotive. After preparing a flexible wheelset model by importing a FE (Finite Element) model into the MBS (Multi-Body System) environment, the investigation work proceeded in 3 steps. Firstly, FRF (Frequency Response Function) of the contact responses against the track irregularity is analysed for a free wheelset and an on-track wheelset, with consideration of rotation effect. Secondly, the influence of the wheelset flexibility on the contact responses excited by white noise is investigated for straight and curved tracks. The final step is to check the influence of the wheelset flexibility on the development of wheel polygonization based on a developed prediction program for railway wheel polygonization. 6 scenarios are investigated with comparison between rigid and flexible wheelsets. Results show that, the wheelset flexibility cannot dominate the railway wheel polygonization in a general sense, unless some prerequisites are fulfilled to provide a suitable environment for the wheelset flexibility to be effectively and continually excited to fluctuate the contact responses, and thereby initiate wheel polygonization. The torsional mode of the wheelset can be effectively excited by stick-slip vibration due to saturated contact adhesion that can occur on track with small curve radii or by large traction torque. In this case, the developed wheel polygonization order will be exactly determined by the wheelset torsional modal frequency and the vehicle speed.