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Wheel/Rail Contact Isolation Due to Track Contamination

Lewis, R., Dwyer-Joyce, R.S. and Lewis, J. (2003) Wheel/Rail Contact Isolation Due to Track Contamination. In: Ekberg, A., Kabo, E. and Ringsberg, J., (eds.) 6th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems : CM2003. CHARMEC , Gothenburg , pp. 221-230. ISBN 9163139286


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An experimental study has been carried out to investigate the effect of sanding on the electrical isolation of a wheel/rail contact. Sand is applied to the wheel/rail interface to increase adhesion in both braking and traction. Train detection, for signalling purposes, can be by means of track circuits. Signalling block occupancy is triggered by the wheelset of the train ‘shorting out’ the track circuit. Sand in the wheel/rail interface means that contact between the wheelsets and the track may be compromised, inhibiting train identification.

Static tests were performed using sections cut from wheels and rail and dynamic tests on a twin disc machine where rail and wheel steel discs are loaded together and driven under controlled conditions of rolling and slip. The electrical circuit used was a simplified simulation of the TI21 track circuit.

The application of sand was carried out under a range of mild and severe test conditions. The results indicated that a transition exists in the amount of sand applied, below which there is a measurable, but not severe, change in voltage, but above which the contact conductance decreases by an order of magnitude. A model of electrical isolation has been developed assuming either full disc separation by a sand layer or partial disc contact with some sand present.

Idealisations inherent in both test methods mean that they represent a severe case. Given these limitations, it is likely that the test methods, at their present stage of development, should be used as a means to qualitatively assess the relative effects on electrical isolation of different contaminants.

Item Type: Book Section
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Department of Mechanical Engineering (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2005
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 19:49
Status: Published
Publisher: CHARMEC
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/881

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