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Acoustic wave propagation in steel rails, excited by flat vehicle wheels

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. J.D. van Wyk and Dr. B.M. Steyn en_US
dc.contributor.author Van Niekerk, J.O.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-22T12:17:55Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-22T12:17:55Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-22
dc.date.submitted 1999
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6461
dc.description M.Ing. en_US
dc.description.abstract The aim of Spoornet is to provide a minimise predictable service. In order to provide a predictable service, it is necessary to move trains safely and effectively from the place of departure to their destination. The keywords here are safely and effectively. Although support functions such as infrastructure and train control procedures are vital in moving the train, the train or rolling stock as it is generally known, warrants some attention. Defects on the rolling stock are very costly to Spoornet. This is mainly due to the fact that a defect on the rolling stock that goes undetected can cause damage to the rolling stock and the infrastructure. This damage can eventually lead to derailments. Considering that a derailment can cost Spoornet millions of rand and cause delays to the services, it is only logical to spend time preventing derailments. It is for this reason that a workgroup was formed to investigate and solve the problem of defects causing derailments and delays by developing an early warning system. The need for an integrated train condition monitoring system became apparent when considering an early warning system. The objectives of the integrated train condition monitoring system are to provide train condition information to different users, and alarms on detection of emergency or dangerous conditions. Various train defects that may cause damage or derailments were identified. One of them being a flat wheel on a rail vehicle. A flat wheel is characterised by the flattening of the wheel on one or more positions on its circumference, so that the wheel does not have an even and completely round profile. Flat wheels are mostly caused by the wheels of a vehicle becoming locked during braking, and sliding along the rail track. The friction created by this action grinds a flat spot on the wheel. The flat wheel leads to a decline in the riding quality of the rolling stock and a rise in the levels of vibration and noise is evident. But more importantly, the flat spot causes the wheel to roll unevenly, creating impacts on the rail on some points. It is these impacts that can cause damage to the rail and the rolling stock. Depending on the length of the flat spot, the vehicle type and speed, the stresses may be sufficient to cause final failure of the rail or initiate fatigue cracks in the rail. Severe flat wheels are a safety hazard and can in some cases, cause derailments and consequent delays to trains. Smaller flat spots contribute to track deterioration and so increase maintenance costs by damaging the rails, sleepers and ballast. Flat wheels can thus be very costly to Spoornet and its public image. In addition to safety and economic considerations, wheel flats reduce the comfort levels in the passenger coaches and the noises they make is annoying. In an attempt to restrict the damage caused by flat wheels, most railway administrations place a limit on the length of the flats that may stay in service. But to effectively find a flat wheel on rolling stock is currently a very expensive exercise. Flat wheels can be detected by an audible knocking sound when standing next to the rail. This sound is impossible for the driver to hear and therefore goes undetected. Normally flat wheels are detected by random inspection of the rolling stock or when they are brought in for a routine service. The service cycle on rolling stock can be up to 24 months in Spoornet. Considering that a flat wheel has an impact roughly every 3m, a serious flat generates roughly 160 000 impacts on a single trip on the coal heavy haul export line. It is therefore clear that a flat wheel can cause a considerable amount of damage between service cycles. The severity of the problem is however not accurately defined in Spoornet, because up to a few months ago there was no detection system in use to determine the distribution of flat wheels. The research department of the Deutsche Bundesbahn however considers rail fractures due to the flat wheels to be a serious problem with a significant annual replacement cost. There are thus sound safety and economic reasons for wishing to understand the mechanisms of flat wheels and to develop an early warning system using an automatic detector. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Acoustic surface wave devices en_US
dc.subject Interdigital transducers en_US
dc.subject Railroads - Rolling stock en_US
dc.subject Railroads - Evaluation en_US
dc.subject Wheels en_US
dc.title Acoustic wave propagation in steel rails, excited by flat vehicle wheels en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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