Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Behavior of Track Elements in Contact-Impact Models
Existence of short wave length irregularities and discontinuities in the rail, such as corrugation, isolated rail joints, crossings and rail breakage, result in impact forces and an increase in wheel-rail contact force. Extreme forces in such could result in non-linear behavior of ballast and pads, and as a result, employing common linear models mihgt over/under estimate contact forces. A 3D model of wheel and rail is developed in this paper, and by considering rail breakage, validity of linear models and considering non-linear behavior of materials are studied. Wheel-rail interactions are studied for two common pads with high stiffness (HDPE) and low stiffness (Studded) for speeds of 20 to 160 km/h. Three behavioral patterns are considered for the developed 3D model: linear pad and ballast (LP-LB), nonlinear pad and linear ballast (NLP, LB), and nonlinear pad and ballast (NLP, NLB), and results are compared. According to the results, for HDPE pads and impact forces of up to 30 tons, linear model for material could estimate acceptable results. Yet for studded pads, linear model estimates forces that are comparably less than those estimated by non-linear model. Moreover employing NLP-LB model overestimates pad and wheel-rail contact forces by a rather small margin, compared to those estimated by NLP-NLB model, and hence, could be a suitable replacement for it. It is also observed that in order to have a reliable estimate of ballast forces, using non-linear ballast models are mandatory, and neither LP-LB nor NLP-LB could be acceptable replacements.