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A fast-simplified wheel-rail contact model consistent with perfect plastic materials

Abstract : A method is described which is an extension of rolling contact models with respect to plasticity. This new method, which is an extension of the STRIPES semi-Hertzian (SH) model, has been implemented in a multi-body-system (MBS) package and does not result in a longer execution time than the STRIPES SH model. High speed of computation is obtained by some hypotheses about the plastic law, the shape of stresses, the locus of the maximum stress and the slip. Plasticity does not change the vehicle behaviour but there is a need for an extension of rolling contact models with respect to plasticity as far as fatigue analysis of rail is concerned: rolling contact fatigue may be addressed via the finite element method (FEM) including material non-linearities, where loads are the contact stresses provided by the post-processing of MBS results. In STRIPES, like in other MBS models, contact stresses may exceed the plastic yield criterion, leading to wrong results in the subsequent FEM analysis. With the proposed method, contact stresses are kept consistent with a perfect plastic law, avoiding these problems. The method is benchmarked versus non-linear FEM in Hertzian geometries. As a consequence of taking plasticity into account, contact patch area is bigger than the elastic one. In accordance with FEM results, a different ellipse aspect ratio than the one predicted by Hertz theory was also found and finally pressure does not exceed the threshold prescribed by the plastic law. The method also provides more exact results with non-Hertzian geometries. The new approach is finally compared with non-linear FEM in a tangent case with a unidirectional load and a complete slip: when plasticity is taken into account, and for large adhesion values, friction forces have an influence on the size of the contact patch. The proposed approach enables also to assess extensively the level of plasticity along a track through an indicator associated with a given yield stress.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 11, 2013 - 9:29:29 PM
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M. Sebès, Luc Chevalier, J.-P. Ayasse, H. Chollet. A fast-simplified wheel-rail contact model consistent with perfect plastic materials. Vehicle System Dynamics, Taylor & Francis, 2012, 50 (9), pp.1453-1471. ⟨10.1080/00423114.2012.669483⟩. ⟨hal-00773202⟩



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