Journal of Theoretical
and Applied Mechanics

39, 3, pp. 507-522, Warsaw 2001

Contact, motion and wear in railway mechanics

Kurt Frischmuth
One of the most intriguing problems in railway mechanics is the modeling of contact between a rail and wheel. On the one hand, in the contact zone the friction forces are determined – which are essential for the behavior of railway vehicles as multibody systems , see Kalker (1990), True (1993). On the other hand, the power extended by those frictional forces on the surfaces in contact leads to abrasion of particles and thus to wear phenomena, see Brommundt (1996), Frischmuth (1996), Langemann (1999).

The aim of this paper is to present recent results on the coupling between motion of a railway vehicle and evolution of contact surfaces due to wear. We concentrate on a wheel with initially perfect geometry, which changes due to frictional power dissipation during rolling on a perfect track.
Keywords: vehicle dynamics; friction; wear; railway mechanics; contact problems; multibody systems