A Multibody Dynamics Approach to the Modeling of Friction Wedge Elements for Frieght Train Suspensions

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Virginia Tech

This thesis presents a theoretical application of multibody dynamics with unilateral contact to model the interaction of the damping element in a freight train suspension, the friction wedge, with the bolster and the side frame. The objective of the proposed approach is to produce a stand-alone model that can better characterize the interaction between the bolster, the friction wedge, and the side frame subsystems. The new model allows the wedge four degrees of freedom: vertical displacement, longitudinal (between the bolster and the side frame) displacement, pitch (rotation about the lateral axis), and yaw (rotation about the vertical axis). The new model also allows for toe variation. The stand-alone model shows the capability of capturing dynamics of the wedge which were not possible to simulate using previous models. The inclusion of unilateral contact conditions is integral in quantifying the behavior during lift-off and the stick-slip phenomena. The resulting friction wedge model is a 3D, dynamic, stand-alone model of a bolster-friction wedge-side frame assembly.

The new stand-alone model was validated through simulation using simple inputs. The dedicated train modeling software NUCARS® has been used to run simulations with similar inputs and to compare — when possible — the results with those obtained from the new stand-alone MATLAB friction wedge model. The stand-alone model shows improvement in capturing the transient dynamics of the wedge better. Also, it can predict not only normal forces going into the side frame and bolster, but also the associated moments. Significant simulation results are presented and the main differences between the current NUCARS® models and the new stand-alone MATLAB models are highlighted.

unilateral contact, train cab suspension, bolster, side frame, freight train, multibody dynamics, friction wedge, Bogie